British farmers deliver vehicles full of aid to Ukraine

Twenty-two farm pickups loaded with vital supplies have been delivered to war-torn Ukraine by a group of British farmers, aged 18-74, in an effort to help the country’s military.

The delivery to the western city of Lviv comes at a time when Ukraine is preparing for a renewed Russian offensive, which means there is a great need for vehicles to ferry resources, medical supplies, and wounded infantry.

Farmers Weekly spoke to some of the farmers involved in handing over their pickups to Ukraine’s front-line military unit, the 24th Brigade.

Oscar Swanton

Oscar Swanton © Pick-Ups for Peace

See also: Ukraine War: The impact on agriculture one year on


Will Galbraith, an Ayrshire sheep farmer, completed the drive accompanied by his 20-year-old son, Archie. They took the ferry from North Shields to Amsterdam in a Toyota Hilux, with 171,000 miles on its odometer.

“It is an inspiring trip to be part of,” said Will. “The Ukrainian military were exceedingly grateful and were really quite moved by the support from the UK. It makes a huge difference to their resilience and ability to carry on – it’s giving them hope.

“Some of the people we were speaking to had been on the front line very recently and they told us of the difficulties they are facing – they are in desperate need of supplies.”

Ongoing air strikes have made it increasingly difficult to obtain seemingly mundane items, leaving the military in need of resources that can be found on most farms in the UK – such as engine oil, diesel cans, first aid kits and jump leads.


Keeping vehicles on the road is a key priority, allowing the movement of kit to and from the front line.

But shrapnel from recurrent missile attacks has meant that many vehicles are suffering from punctures, so off-road tyres for 4x4s are another item that is in real demand. 

Will’s son, Archie, was one of eight of the 29 drivers under the age of 25. He said his son was particularly moved by a visit to a Ukrainian war cemetery.

“He walked around in silence looking at the graves. He came across the graves of boys aged 20 and younger than him – he is only 20 himself. They had been killed in the fighting less than two weeks ago.

“It brought home the conflict that is going on and the waste of life. If these pickups can help evacuate people and save lives, then that has got to be a good thing.”

Ukrainian soldiers

© Pick-Ups for Peace

Young farmers

Another farmer’s son on the trip, 18-year-old Oscar Swanton, made the journey to Ukraine with his father, Alex.

Sharing the driving, Oscar confesses that he only passed his driving test in July last year, and has never completed a road trip of this length.

“I am very much a believer in Ukraine’s freedom,” he said. “It’s been a very humbling experience. The welcome we got from the Ukrainian people was just incredible.”

A war not far from our doorstep

For those who took the ferry crossing from Newcastle to Amsterdam, the journey to Lviv crosses through Germany and Poland and takes about 17 hours.

For Angus arable farmer Matthew Steel, this made real the close proximity of the conflict, which he says is not far from Britain’s doorstep.


© Pick-Ups for Peace

Joining the convoy in a second-hand Land Rover Discovery that he bought from a small garage near Edinburgh, he said: “This war is not far away. We think Europe is a big place, but it is not really – you can drive to Ukraine in a day from the ferry.

“These are the most incredible people I’ve ever met, just because of their determination to keep going. Their determination to win is amazing to see.

“They didn’t ask for this war – they are normal people who are doing exceptional things.”

The team at Pick-Ups for Peace are currently preparing for the next drop-off of vehicles, which will take place in April. Their goal is to have delivered 100 4x4s by the end of the summer. To donate money, a vehicle or other essential supplies, contact

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