UK MP launches appeal for bullet-proof vests and helmets for Ukrainians

Kit will be sent to Ukraine to protect civilians and soldiers fighting the Russian army

Ukrainian soldiers unload weapons northeast of Kyiv. AFP

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A British MP has launched an appeal for donations of body armour, helmets and medical supplies for Ukraine.

Penny Mordaunt, a former defence secretary, is urging people and businesses who may have kit lying around to donate it to protect soldiers and civilians fighting the Russian invaders.

The Conservative MP for Portsmouth North is also collecting ration packs, wound dressings, neck collars, oxygen cylinders and a wide range of medicines to ship to Ukraine.

She posted photos on social media showing donations of protective gear, boots, camouflage clothing and backpacks, but said more were needed.

“There is a constant need for tactical gear,” she said. “Given we have a lot of ex-service personnel in our patch there might be many people who will have old gear they are not using any more.”

Ms Mordaunt discouraged her constituents from going to Ukraine to fight if they do not have previous military experience.

“I am anticipating that some people from our city may wish to join the fight, especially those with a connection to Ukraine,” she said. “Only those with the specific skills required should consider going, and you need to be fully informed about all that will entail.”

epa06318434 British Member of Parliament Penny Mordaunt arrives at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, 09 November 2017. British Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed Penny Mordaunt  as the new  international development secretary after Priti Patel resigned on 08 November 2017 over her Israel meetings controversy.  EPA/ANDY RAIN

Given Portsmouth’s history, she said locals know more than others “what it takes to fight tyranny”.

The bombing of Portsmouth during the Second World War left more than 3,000 people killed or injured.

During the Nazis’ four-year bombing campaign of 1940 to 1944, some 930 people were killed and thousands more were injured in Portsmouth, and one in 10 of the city’s homes were destroyed.

At least 227 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russian invaded last week and 525 have been wounded, the UN human rights office said.

Ukraine’s emergency services said more than 2,000 civilians have been killed.

Speaking on BBC's Question Time on Thursday evening, Ms Mordaunt said the UK should be investing more into defence.

“I've always argued for strong defence spending … and that we should recognise the return on that investment to the UK,” she said.

A disaster relief charity based in Cornwall, south-west England, is sending a team to Ukraine to ascertain exactly what the refugees need most.

A man looks on in a street in Stoyanka, Ukraine, with smoke billowing from a house in the background.  AFP

The UN has said 1.2 million people fled Ukraine during the first week of the war with Russia.

“We are witnessing a vast humanitarian crisis unfold. With every hour that passes more and more people are fleeing Ukraine, desperately seeking safety and refuge,” ShelterBox chief executive Sanj Srikanthan said.

ShelterBox was established in 2000 and initially supplied stoves, tents and outdoor survival essentials to people suffering the after-effects of disasters.

Fourteen years later they expanded to provide shelter equipment and essential tools needed for people to rebuild their homes.

ShelterBox worked in Ukraine during the floods of 2003 and 2008.

Updated: March 04, 2022, 3:43 PM