A NEWLY formed charity helping Ukraine is taking its first donated four-wheeled drive vehicles for battlefield response medical teams across Europe this week.

The West Devon based Nightingales UK charity left Devon on Tuesday (September 26) to drive the vehicle to cross the Channel, then to Holland and the Czech Republic, before reaching Ukraine by the end of the week.

Rupert Jones, a former GP, of Milton Combe, set up the charity this summer. He said: “We left at 6am and are heading to Dover for the Calais crossing and will spend the first night in Holland. Then we proceed to Prague and on Thursday, with a lot of luck, we will arrive at the Ukraine border and finally deliver the car and aid to Uzhhorod in Ukraine. The vehicle will be fitted up for the battlefield front line with Russian forces and delivered by our colleagues.”

Rupert is asking for owners or companies to donate more four-wheel vehicles to help fast-response medics reach the country’s front line with Russian invaders with medical equipment and surgical materials to treat front-line casualties. The vehicles need to be able to survive a few weeks at least on rough tracks in the unforgiving terrain of the trenches where Ukrainian forces are face-to-face with the Russian invaders.

Dr Jones said: “It doesn’t matter if the four-by-fours are not in good condition, as long as they are robust enough to survive a few weeks in off-road terrain and able to be driven to the east of Ukraine in the first place to get to their destination. The truth is that the average life span of a vehicle on the front-line is four weeks, because they usually get destroyed by mines with the occupants or shot at.

“Therefore, we do need a steady flow of donated vehicles to keep the medics in action saving lives. The Ukrainians even prefer right-hand drive UK vehicles because they are safer from snipers because the Russians expect the driver to be in the left-hand seat and by the time their one-shot chance is gone, they realise they’ve missed their chance and the driver escapes.”

Rupert and his team are experienced supporters of Ukraine by five former members of Plymouth Ukraine Medical Aid (PUMA). Since the beginning of the war last year, PUMA members have been taking medical and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

On Ukraine Independence Day (August 24), a launch meeting of Nightingales UK was held in Milton Coombe village hall, with Ukrainian supporters, joining the international ‘human chain’ of solidarity, joining others doing the same all over the world.

Olena, a front-line paramedic in Ukraine, said on a video call the cars were essential to evacuate the wounded. She showed a video of a Ukrainian tank being shelled and how her team saved the crew’s lives, thanks to the right vehicles. The Nightingales includes Dan Halton (driver) his wife Tracey (paediatric nurse), Anton Horrwich (a project manager) and Denise Ullmann (paediatric nurse). The charity says it wants 4X4 vehicles to send medics to the Ukraine front line of the Russian invasion.  Find out more by emailing [email protected]