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Lithuania, Poland support collection, transfer of military gear to Ukraine: Report

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Foreign military equipment is finding a way into Ukraine through an unmarked border along the Ukraine-Poland border, the Washington Post (WaPo) reported on Friday.

WaPo reporters found that the cross-country border lacked passport officers, customs lanes and any semblance of a formal border crossing.

Some common supplies freely passing through reportedly include generators, radios, surveillance drones, night-vision gear bulletproof vests and helmets, retrofitted Jeeps, ambulances, an armored bank truck, an army field kitchen as well as 24 tons of diesel, among other necessities.

A Ukrainian soldier drives a van which carries bodies of dead soldiers next to the military school hit by Russian rockets the day before, in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine, on March 19, 2022. (AFP)
A Ukrainian soldier drives a van which carries bodies of dead soldiers next to the military school hit by Russian rockets the day before, in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine, on March 19, 2022. (AFP)

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A lot of the items had arrived from Lithuania, the report said.

“While governments negotiate over fighter jets and high-end weapon systems, soldiers on the ground are struggling to fill more basic needs,” WaPo reported.

A lot of Ukraine’s ground force continue relying on crucial supplies from across the border after many of its local factories shut down due to Russian shelling.

A satellite image shows an additional part of a military convoy, near Invankiv, Ukraine February 28, 2022. (Reuters)
A satellite image shows an additional part of a military convoy, near Invankiv, Ukraine February 28, 2022. (Reuters)

“That is what we need the most,” said Lt. Andrey Bystriyk to WaPo, one of the many Ukrainian fighters who had traveled across his war-ravaged country to meet the convoys.

“From the army, we get the gun and the ammunition and the uniform,” he continued, adding that “under the uniform, what we eat, what keeps us safe, how we move around and fight — that comes from the people, our people and foreign people.”

The report goes on to describe how the Baltic nation continues a “huge outpouring of support for Ukraine.” Many parts of the country’s capital Vilnius are being seen flying Ukrainian flags.

People walk with a giant many meter-long Ukrainian flag to protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine during a celebration of Lithuania's independence in Vilnius, Lithuania, on March 11, 2022. (AFP)
People walk with a giant many meter-long Ukrainian flag to protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine during a celebration of Lithuania's independence in Vilnius, Lithuania, on March 11, 2022. (AFP)

Receiving much of the donated money and supplies is Blue and Yellow, reported WaPo, a nonprofit founded in 2014 to supply Ukrainians fighting the takeover of eastern parts of their country by Russian-backed separatists.

Meanwhile, in Ukraine’s Carpathian Mountains, tens of thousands find refuge from war, WaPo reported.

“Everything in Europe is selling out,” Zemyna Bliumenzonaite, a Blue and Yellow staffer, told a WaPo reporter. “But we are getting more requests than ever.”

She reportedly held out her phone to show some of the texts she gets from soldiers in Ukraine. One named “Kruk” asked for 1,000 tourniquets and 40 individual first-aid kits. She told the WaPo they will be in the next convoy.

The report suggested that volunteer drivers and other essential personnel help with car modifications – including paint changes, chrome deletes, and mechanical work – all of which are loaded onto the convoy.

The trucks are then escorted by the Lithuanian and Polish police, in their respective areas of operation, and handed over to Ukrainian units in the crumbling city.

There are reports and videos on social media of these vehicles being widely used in Ukraine to counter tankers and large troops alike.

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