A DEVOTED Worcester director spurred on by memories of life in Ukraine in the late 90s has unveiled a fund-raising bid to help colleagues in war-torn Kherson.
Rachael Savage, arts director of Vamos Theatre, hopes her Crowdfunder will raise vital cash for food, clothes and medicine in Ukraine.
The Black Sea port has been among the flashpoints in the bloody conflict which has lasted nearly eight months.
After being captured by Russian fighters early in the campaign, the region is now the target of a monumental counter-attack from Ukranian soldiers.
As an actor in the late 1990s, Rachael toured Ukraine in a co-production between UK and Ukrainian theatre companies.
She has stayed in touch with colleagues in the city of Kherson and when she learnt of the ongoing hardships they are suffering, she was determined to find a way to help them.
In preparation for starting a fundraising campaign, Rachael spent three months researching and checking ways to transfer funds directly and safely to her contacts in Ukraine.
The money raised will pay for food, clothes and medicine which will be handed out to those most In need by Rachael’s Ukranian colleagues.
“I know so many people who want to help the people of Ukraine in a direct way, and this is a chance to do just that,” she said.
“I speak to my friends in Kherson every week and know the terrible situation they are in. All this time, they have asked for nothing – until June, when they said they had no money for food – and I had to help.
“We have discussed the situation in detail and the money we raise in this campaign will be used to get food and medicine to where it is most needed – it will not be used to buy arms or fund war.
“I hope people in Worcestershire will support me in this urgent and life-saving campaign.”
Conditions are particularly hard in Kherson at the moment, and every donation will make a big difference, however small.
Ukraine has recaptured more than 450 square miles of land in its southern Kherson region since launching the start of its counterassault against Russia in late August, a military spokesperson said on Sunday (October 9)
It achieved lightning success with its offensive in the north-east, but its drive in the south to wipe out a Russian foothold on the west bank of the vast Dnipro river has been a longer, more laboured affair.
Ukrainian officials have long talked up the priority of recapturing Kherson, a flat, agricultural region which Moscow captured in its near-entirety in the early days of its invasion.
Any major territorial losses in Kherson would threaten Russia’s supply lines to the strategically significant Crimean peninsula further south, the return of which Kyiv has coveted since its occupation by Russia in 2014.
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