UK farmers with ties to Ukraine raise £18,000 relief fund

A Norfolk farming family with close ties to Ukraine has raised more than £18,000 that will be used to buy and transport medical supplies and support charities in the country devastated by the Russian invasion.

The Jensen family, from Guestwick village, has also farmed in Ukraine for more than 10 years and will deliver badly needed aid to its people, after hearing that medical supplies are running out fast.

See also: Ukraine war: Hampshire farmers support Chernobyl charity

The family is in regular contact with their farm staff, who manage 2,500ha of arable land north of Lviv. The farm is about 70km from the Polish border.

Contacts within Lviv city council are able to meet supply trucks, so the Jensens are sourcing the supplies and donations to send aid directly.

Farmer Martin Jensen and his neighbour Rupert Wood set off at 3am on Friday morning (4 March) with the first load of supplies.

Other Guestwick residents have helped the pair gather and sort the aid that has arrived from across the country.

Tourniquets, bandages, sterile wipes and water, syringes and other supplies needed for battlefield wounds have been packed on the white Volkswagen van that cleared Ashford customs this morning.

Urgent aid

Mr Jensen’s daughter, Emily, told Farmers Weekly that it “feels like a miracle” after a stressful two days completing the required customs forms.

“We’re trying to do this in a hurry because we are so aware of the time constraints, the sooner we can get stuff there, the safer the border is and the sooner it can help,” she said.

“The supplies are going into western Ukraine where we have had the same farm and same staff for over a decade. They are friends of ours and we really wanted to make sure we are helping.

“Even though it is so far west, there have been casualties 30km away and they immediately had to open up village buildings for refugees from Kyiv and eastern Ukraine.”

Farm staff are trying to continue with spring drilling plans in the face of the terrifying situation, but all farm fuel has been made available to the Ukrainian military.

It is expected the young tractor drivers will be called up to fight.

Life-saving operations

Having already smashed the fundraising target of £10,000 in little over a day, the rest of the money will be shared between humanitarian charities in western Ukraine.

Ms Jensen has been told by the farm manager, Roman, that there will be soon a desperate need for money to fund life-saving operations.

“They are going to start getting a lot of war wounded coming into the west and he is saying the need will then be for hospital operations. We will channel the money into local charities who can directly help the war wounded,” she said.

“The Ukrainian people really appreciate the solidarity, so please keep helping, the more we can do, the better.”

Attacks have intensified on cities in Ukraine eight days since Russia president Vladimir Putin instigated his assault on the second-largest country in Europe.

Hundreds of Ukraine civilians are believed to have been killed in the conflict and more than one million people have fled the country.

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