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Poland gives Ukraine ambulances, medical supplies as Russia attacks

Poland Russia Ukraine War reufgees
Posted at 11:12 PM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-04 23:12:12-05

With the Russian army pressing in from the north, south and east, the western border is Ukraine's lifeline. 

It's become a transit point for aid, weapons, and most recently, desperately needed medical supplies, including ambulances to replace the ones Ukrainian authorities say Russia has destroyed.  

Newsy joined a Polish medical team on a mission of mercy in a small convoy headed for the border.  

Polish paramedics, including Pawel Lukaszewecz, delivered the first of 20 ambulances being given to Ukraine. 

NEWSY'S JASON BELLINI: You give them one of these ambulances? 

PAWEL LUKASZEWECZ: Yeah. This ambulance is for the Ukraine.  

As Newsy approached the Polish border, passing refugees, it's then an hour to clear immigration and then you're in Ukraine. 

The handover took place on the short stretch of road between the Polish and Ukranian checkpoints. 

A large van and both Polish ambulances were packed with medical supplies, including bandages and dressings, tourniquets, intravenous lines and fluids, painkillers and other trauma equipment. 

"There's full equipment inside," Lukaszewecz said. "You have defibrillators too."

After an exchange of documents, paramedics exchange flags. The Polish gave their Ukranian colleagues a symbol of unity and resistance. The Solidarity Flag is an iconic image of the anti-communist movement of the 1980s. 

And the Ukranians gifted their flag, which now is also a symbol of struggle against the odds. 

Before they departed, Oksana Zvarychuk, a paramedic from southwest Ukraine said: "I have no words. I wish you all the best. Health and above all, but also peace." 

She went on to say: "I want to thank every single person who contributed to all of this that we are receiving. You are like our family. ... Let me hug you guys."

The Polish paramedic told her, "We'll be seeing each other again on Friday. We'll bring another ambulance for you and will be in touch about the next handover."

With the help of a translator, Newsy asked whether Zvarychuk has enough ambulances now.

She responded, saying they need even more ambulances right now because they've lost some already. The Russians, she says, are shooting at ambulances. 

"She almost cried when she thanked us," Lukaszewecz said. "It must be hard for these Ukrainian people."

A reminder of just how hard came as Newsy crossed back into Poland, Newsy passed a long line Ukranians waiting to get out. The ambulance left behind is for the ones who can't. 

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