From Kent to Kyiv: former British soldiers equip Ukrainian resistance
Folkestone, UK, Mar 7 (EFE).- In a small warehouse in the southeastern English town of Folkestone in Kent, piles of army combat uniforms, boots and helmets of former British soldiers are waiting to be given a second life.
Since Russian troops launched a full-scale invasion into Ukraine 12 days ago, Wooza’s storage has been regularly visited by Ukrainians living in the UK.
They are either ready to join their compatriots on the front line or to gather materials and equipment to send back home.
Sleeping bags, rucksacks and bulletproof vests are the most requested items, “Wooza”, a former sergeant of The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment who preferred to remain anonymous, told Efe.
Wooza’s collection of military equipment is mainly from the British Ministry of Defense as well as donations from army veterans.
“We have to try to equip them as best we can,” Wooza, who served in the Gulf War, Kosovo and Northern Ireland, said.
Wooza had already supplied Ukrainians in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea.
“The first thing we do is remove all badges and make sure there are no British flags, because it wouldn’t be a good thing if Russian TV caught a Ukrainian soldier with a Union Jack and he was taken for a Brit.
“I do everything I can. I’ve been to war-torn places, I know what this is about. If I could, I would go to the frontline myself,” he said.
Taras, a 28-year-old Ukrainian bricklayer living in London, has come to Wooza’s warehouse to look for uniforms and boots to send to about 20 acquaintances fighting near his hometown, Lviv.
“My family has decided to stay there. We have a house and my grandparents are old. But my brother is fighting,” he told Efe.
But it is not only Ukrainians who are taking part in the resistance from a distance.
Henry Bolton, a former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), is organizing a national network to distribute supplies to Ukraine.
“I have made a proposal to the Ukrainian leadership in the UK to coordinate both humanitarian aid and resilience (or military) effort,” he told Efe.
Stephen Marsh, who owns a store in Dover, and his wife, Gillian George, have also come to the warehouse to help.
“This morning we thought to ourselves, how could we do our bit? And we decided to go to the exchange office to get 1,200 euros and we will donate them in envelopes of 100 to those who come, to buy gasoline or whatever it takes,” he said. EFE