Incredible Lithuanian mission to save the children of Kharkiv

Rescue Kharkiv. By Lukas BARBIER

The fifth day of the mission to rescue about 100 people from Kharkiv, led by Gintarė Narkevičiūtė-Jurgelionė, is getting closer to its goal.

Although we hear that many refugees have already reached Poland from Ukraine and are on their way to other parts of Europe, it is from Kharkiv that it is the most dangerous and challenging place to leave. This city, already christened the second Stalingrad in the hottest news, is smoking in the dust of the rubble and the cries of the wounded and the dead. The children are among the most vulnerable – as always in war – whose rescue and safe transport have become an incredible mission.

At the moment, all the people transported, including disabled children, an orphaned baby, a Lithuanian woman with a five-month-old baby and the people accompanying them, have safely crossed the border of the European Union, some of whom will remain in Poland. Some of whom will arrive in Lithuania, where they will be welcomed by the municipality of the District of Raseiniai, where they will be provided with the care and hospitality they need to take care of the blind children, Anželika Ibrahimova, the head of Asterix, an organisation that has been caring for children affected by the war for eight years, had already been camping with Ukrainian children thanks to the support of former Member of Parliament Rasa Petrauskiene, her comrades and the Klaipėda District Municipality. Rasa Petrauskiene, who answered Anželika’s call for help, together with Gintara Narkevičiūtė-Jurgelione, who has been organising regular support missions and aid in Ukraine since 2013, is carrying out this transport mission, which required a lot of determination and skill, and which involves only those who have special training in Lithuania and Ukraine.

“The most important thing is that we have managed to ensure a safe transfer – but all the people travelling are exhausted, under tremendous stress and currently in a state of panic – especially the children, who have been affected by the horrors of the war for much longer than this week of the war, and have been affected by the eight years of Russia’s aggression in the eastern territories of Ukraine, and who will therefore need psychological and other assistance of every kind,” said Gintarė Narkevičiūtė-Jurgelionė.

According to the head of the mission, despite the seriousness of the situation – where every detail needs to be thought through and where the details change lightning-fast, sometimes even several times, for example, the first reserved bus was blown up by the Russian army, and during the war, it was not easy to find a new driver, as many of the men were at war. However, a safe place to stop and spend the night could be located with comfortable rooms and food.

In an increasingly dangerous situation, the rescue operation for the children of Kharkiv is continuing – and the lives of children continue to be saved.

“We will do whatever it takes to help,” says Rasa Petrauskiene, “We are receiving more and more cries for help from Ukrainians who have heard about the disabled children we are rescuing, so we are continuing to organise the rescue without delay.”

The first arrivals will arrive in Raseiniai, 15A Kalnų Street this evening.

The operation is also supported by Blue/Yellow, an organisation led by Jonas Ohman. LT17 7300 0101 4089 4869, Bank: “Swedbank”, Beneficiary: “Mėlyna ir geltona”, Purpose of the payment.

Our sincere thanks to the Lithuanian military, diplomats and all the Lithuanian people contributing to our operations in Ukraine.

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Gintarė Narkevičiūtė-Jurgelionė, tel. 8 645 19 942, Rasa Petrauskienė, tel. 8 650 29 412

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