Poland donates ambulances to Ukraine and assistance

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With the Russian military pressing in from the north, south and east, the western border is Ukraine’s lifeline.

It has become a transit point for aid, weapons and, more recently, desperately needed medical supplies, including ambulances to replace those Ukrainian authorities say Russia has destroyed.

Newsy joined a Polish medical team on a mercy mission in a small convoy heading for the border.

Polish paramedics, including Pawel Lukaszewecz, delivered the first of 20 ambulances delivered to Ukraine.

NEWSY’S JASON BELLINI: You give them one of those ambulances?

PAWEL LUKASZEWECZ: Yeah. This ambulance is for Ukraine.

As Newsy approaches the Polish border, passing refugees, it’s then an hour to clear immigration and then you’re in Ukraine.

The transfer took place on the short stretch of road between the Polish and Ukrainian checkpoints.

A large van and the two Polish ambulances were filled with medical supplies, including bandages and dressings, tourniquets, intravenous lines and fluids, painkillers and other trauma equipment.

“There is full equipment inside,” Lukaszewecz said. “You also have defibrillators.”

After an exchange of documents, the paramedics exchange flags. The Poles gave their Ukrainian colleagues a symbol of unity and resistance. The solidarity flag is an iconic image of the anti-communist movement of the 1980s.

And the Ukrainians offered their flag, which is now also a symbol of the struggle against all odds.

Before they left, Oksana Zvarychuk, a paramedic from southwestern Ukraine said, “I have no words. I wish you all the best. Health and above all, but also peace.”

She went on to say, “I want to thank everyone who has contributed to everything we receive. You are like our family. …Let me give you a hug.”

The Polish paramedic told him: “We will meet again on Friday. We will bring you another ambulance and we will contact you about the next transfer.”

With the help of an interpreter, Newsy asked if Zvarychuk had enough ambulances now.

She responded by saying that they needed even more ambulances right now because they had already lost some. The Russians, she says, are shooting at the ambulances.

“She almost cried when she thanked us,” Lukaszewecz said. “It must be hard for these Ukrainians.”

A reminder of the difficulty encountered when Newsy returned to Poland, Newsy passed a long line of Ukrainians waiting to get out. The Ambulance Left Behind is for those who can’t.

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