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War horrors will not stop Ukraine mercy missions

[Press center3] time:2023-05-28 12:20:22 source:CNN (Cable News Network) author:Press center3 click:197order

A man who goes to Ukraine every two weeks to support soldiers and civilians said he will not stop his work despite being caught up in a missile strike.

Harley Whitehead from Burnley hid in a basement for four hours after a missile landed at the front of his hotel.

He said the "bit of a hiccup" blew out the windows "but thankfully everyone was all right".

He is returning to Ukraine on Tuesday taking supplies including first aid kits, body armour, drones and radios.

Mr Whitehead is part of a group called East Lancashire 4 Ukraine which has been gathering donations for refugees fleeing Ukraine.

They have supplied surgical items, wound and burn dressings and medication, but are now helping the forces with non-lethal supplies as they "need it more than the civilians".

He said: "They're really struggling because fighting's intensified a lot over the east, it's actually now the worst it's ever been, so that's our priority."

Mr Whitehead previously worked in Kyiv as an English teacher and lived there for three years.

He said he was "not at all scared" at the prospect of going back as "I study the live war map and I speak to people on the ground and I trust myself".

"There are parts of Ukraine where you wouldn't even know there's a war going on, it's a massive country," he said.

"When you're in the east it's a lot different, it's completely dark, there's nobody on the streets.

"Kherson was like a ghost town, the only people left were old people, all the younger ones have left and that city's now getting shelled every day.

"It's quite intense, but there are a lot of people who just choose to stay.

"We have people who work with us who do evacuations for civilians and they're having to drive into these front line areas in the middle of fierce fighting just to get these people out."

The group are currently fundraising for mine clearance training.

"Planning ahead that's what we will be doing in Ukraine as the war against mines will be going on for decades," Mr Whitehead said.

"We will be starting our training this May and then assisting with the clearance.

"Ukraine is littered with mines in liberated areas and a lot of Russian munitions don't explode on impact.

"It's going to be an interesting few months."

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(editor-in-charge:Press center9)

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