On the streets of Kyiv, an ambulance emblazoned with a New Zealand flag is treating and transporting the war-wounded.
It follows a campaign by Ukraine-born New Zealander doctor Olga Dubnytska, whose brother, Paul, is an ambulance driver in the Ukrainian capital city.
His old, clapped-out ambulance was not in good condition when the Russian invasion occurred and – just when it was badly needed to help the injured – it broke down.
Olga appealed to her fellow Kiwis for help to raise the $20,000 needed to replace the vehicle, starting a fundraiser on Givealittle.
In just over a week, she had raised more than enough to get Paul back on the road.
“I’m very excited and I would like to say from the bottom of my heart and [on] behalf of my brother … a big thank you to each and every one for your generous donation,” Olga said.
“We did it. We did make a difference. We have helped my brother … to get a new functional ambulance and he’s now in [his ambulance in] Kyiv with a New Zealand flag on the side [and it will] go with him everywhere.”
She said it meant the world to her brother.
“He was sitting at home ready to do something but couldn’t, because he had no wheels. And now he has this brilliant car. I mean, I saw the photos and he’s so excited – and he’s already done his first on-call.”
Speaking to First Up with his sister translating, Paul said he loved the new vehicle – a 2017 ambulance fully equipped with everything he needed, including an air conditioner – although he still has a bit of work to do getting the radio communications up-to-scratch.
He said he managed to source the New Zealand flag through an advertising company.
Paul sent a message through after speaking with First Up host Nathan Rarere: “I could not convey in the interview the emotions that fill me. I feel respect for the people of your country, you are wonderful people!
“I want to wish you a peaceful sky above your head!”