Broadstairs based Ukrainian Vasyl speaks of UK support and determination of people to defend home country

Homes near Chernihiv after night time artillery strikes 2022

The world must see Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military attacks on the civilians of Ukraine and he must pay for his actions, says Ukrainian and Broadstairs resident Vasyl Slobodyan.

Vasyl, who lives in the town with his wife Viktoria, says civilians are under attack in their homes, in schools and in train stations.

Cloud engineer Vasyl, 29, has a grandmother, uncle and cousins in the country. He is lucky that his parents and younger brother Volodymyr are in the UK but Viktoria has immediate family – parents and sister – in Ukraine and both have many friends who are living amidst the conflict.

For now many of those family members are not in direct line of the Russian offensive as they are based in Ternopil in the west of the country.

But others are amidst the fighting, with some needing to flee but many, like Viktoria’s mum and sister, refusing to be driven out.

Vasyl said: “Our family is based in the west at Ternopil, which is very beautiful. If you say they need to leave, they are not that sort of people. My wife’s sister will not leave and her mum is a nurse so needs to be there to help. The people who are leaving Ukraine are women and children.

“My cousin was in Kyiv and I was talking to her on the first day and there were explosions just a couple of miles away from them. She decided to leave because she is pregnant and it is not safe.

“I have a lot of friends there who will not leave. Some are in Kharkiv which is a very heavily attacked area, my friends had a piece of artillery shell outside their block of flats.”

Homes near Chernihiv after night time artillery strikes

Vasyl, Viktoria and his mum Iryna were among the thousands of people to take part in a Stand With Ukraine demonstration in London last weekend.

Ukrainians and people of many other nationalities including Russians, gathered at Downing Street and others were outside the Russian embassy in Kensington Palace Gardens on Saturday while on Sunday another large gathering took place in Trafalgar Square.

Vasyl’s mum Iryna (on left) at the demo in London

The show of solidarity was also a bid to urge government to continue increasing sanctions against Russia and to take more action to help Ukrainian refugees.

Some one million people have now fled from Ukraine as Russian military action continues with the vast majority crossing into Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Moldova. Smaller numbers have gone to Russia and Belarus.

Vasyl says the show of support is important, adding: “It is trying to get attention from government but the biggest thing is showing people back home that everyone supports them.

“I am not military but I will do anything I can to help using the skills I have and we must all use our best skills.

Attack on school in Kharkiv area

“People here (in the UK) have been showing support with donations of money or clothes, it does not need to be a big amount – £10 here is maybe a couple of drinks but at home  £1 is roughly 40 UAH so it is worth quite a lot more over there and that can be used to buy food, equipment and other things.

“And there is emotional support, a lot of people need a lot of that, as it is hard to cope at this time. Reaching out to someone who you know is impacted and talking to them is quite a good way to make sure they are safe and sound, even if they are not fighting or taking part in the war as such.

“The UK can use sanctions, this is the best alternative without starting World War 3. On top of that ammunition support and other military vehicles support to help Ukrainian people so they can resist and withstand the attack from Russia.

“The world needs to see that Putin’s military is attacking civilians in their homes and train stations while trying to flee and other places. That is not right, he should be put to tribunal and have to pay for everything he has done.

“We live in the 21st century in a time with technology, I do not understand why this (war) is being resorted to.”

Attack on school in Kharkiv area

Vasyl is also urging people to make sure they are informed through reputable sources to understand the situation in Ukraine.

His brother Volodymyr, a 27-year-old building developer and talented chef, says he is horrified at the conflict, Russia’s taking of Chernobyl and the nuclear threat.

He said: “This war is about one man’s ego. We are fighting for our freedom and our country, we will not be a Crimea (invaded by Russia in 2014 and subsequently annexed).”

Human rights organisation Amnesty International has documented attacks in Kharkiv that have killed at least nine civilians, including children, that took place at the same time as talks between Ukraine and Russia in Belarus.

The organisation has labelled these killings as possible war crimes.

A second round of talks takes place today (March 3) but Ukraine says there can be no resolution unless there is an immediate ceasefire.

In a video Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says his country’s defence lines are holding. The assault on Kyiv is said to be hampered by Ukrainian defence.

It is reported that the international criminal court (ICC) confirmed it is opening an investigation into possible war crimes and has started collecting evidence.

Humanitarian aid from Manston?

It has been reported that Manston could be cleared for humanitarian – cargo out – flights.

Airport site owner RSP says at the request of North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale, it has offered to make Manston available to the UK Government to facilitate refugee relief flights from Ukraine into the UK. The airport is providing a collection point for relief agencies collecting vital medical supplies and equipment bound for Ukraine.

Tony Freudmann, director of RSP, said: “With the provision of fire services and the sweeping of the runway to ready it for relief flights, Manston could carry vital medical food and medical supplies to Polish Border towns receiving refugees and bring back women and children, either pre-cleared, or for clearance at the Manston Barracks site. We stand ready to support the UK’s relief efforts to support the people of Ukraine, at this desperately awful time.”

From Monday, March 7 the green warehouse on Spitfire Way will be used for goods being taken out to Ukraine.

Volunteers are needed for sorting, collating, packing and loading. The effort is being coordinated by Charlie Cawsey of Type One Style. Tables, chairs, water, scissors, parcel tape etc are also needed. (UPDATE: Please do not turn up if you are not already on the list).

Type One Style are organising medical supply distribution efforts to Ukraine. They have aggregated over £120,000 of supplies and have much more coming. They are working directly with the Ukrainian government and a network of volunteers inside Ukraine that they have built using digital platforms.

They need people to help with the organising and unloading of medical supplies to get them to Ukraine and border regions promptly, and to catalogue and organise the supplies they have to ensure the right people get the right medicines at the right time. Full time volunteers needed but part time and flexi time manual handlers also desperately needed.

Please contact [email protected]  if you can help or fill in the volunteer form here

To help

The most effective way is cash donation to the Disaster Emergency Committee which works with member charities and local partners operating on the ground in Ukraine and western border countries

Find the British Red Cross Ukraine crisis appeal here

Thanet donation points to support the people of Ukraine


  1. How can Manston be used to support Ukraine?
    It’s not an airport.
    Shame on you for using this most grave situation for your own petty ambitions.

      • The status of
        Manston as an airport is quite material. If it’s not an airport, nothing can fly in or out.
        The best thing to do to benefit Ukraine is to donate money via one of the regular charities. Then things that are needed can be purchased close to the point of delivery, removing the need for unnecessary and expensive transportation.

  2. We still cannot fly ordinary cargo or passengers from Manston Airport, but Manston is now cleared for Humanitarian – cargo out – flights. Passengers are a much trickier matter, as this would require Air Traffic Control etc. Sir Roger Gale is discussing that at governmental level.

    So no shame Phyllis Quot on my part, thank you.

    • You cannot fly anything into or out of Manston, because it’s not a functioning airport.
      I think it’s dreadful that Tony Freudman and Roger Gale have jumped on this situation to further their own agenda.
      Ukraine needs enormous amounts of help. By all means, donate money (most useful) or the items listed.
      But to soapbox for Manston is utterly deplorable in this current situation.

      • If you need directions to the Isle of selfish, it can be arranged, think about the people of Ukraine who through no fault of there own, are in dire need, shame on you and any other anti that feels the need to moan.

    • Not sure Roger is in anyone’s good books at the moment after his outspokenness of his no confidence in the prime minister letters.
      In any case humanitarian aid will be short lived and flown from airports already geared up. The Ukraine is in Eastern Europe and whatever they need can be got from nearby allies.

  3. Phyllis: it’s most unlikely that planes will fly into or out if Manston in the near future, if ever.
    RSP, as owners of the site, could have sought planning permission from the supportive TDC. But they haven’t.
    RSP could have prosecuted their CAA Licence Application. But they haven’t.
    I agree with you that it is utterly tasteless that the IoTN has linked the dire situation in Ukraine with this local issue.

      • I am opposed to Manston as an airport or cargo hub for all the reasons the Government’s experts set out. However if it was strategically desirable to use the site for Ukraine aid I’d support that.
        But I wonder if this is Gale and RSP trying to get the facility up and running through the back door, cynically using Ukraine’s plight to their own advantage.
        It also needs to be asked, doesn’t a portion of RSP investment come from shell companies that are Russian?
        There are layers upon layers. Follow the money to understand whose fingers are in which pie.

  4. That runway needed £12-14 million spent on it 8 years ago just to patch it up so it must be in terrible condition now. There was a sink hole appeared when it was a lorry park. It has no landing lights, radar ATC no CAA aerodrome licence. This is just spin from RSP in pretty poor taste from TF.

  5. Why would anyone use Manston even for humanitarian uses ? There are airports up and running, better located and with plenty of capacity. This is just Fraud man and Gale cynically using the dire situation in Ukraine to bypass the DCO process. Shame on them both.

  6. Plenty of capacity at other airports. We are all aware that flight numbers are down. Disgusting to use this horrible situation to twist a manston situation that most intelligent people have moved on from. It’s not an airport and we don’t need it to be.

  7. My thoughts are with all the locals with ties to the Ukraine be it family or friends. It’s a situation that it is hard to imagine what it would be like to be in.

  8. Shame on you anti manston keyboard warriors. I will say it again, shame on you. Some people just want to help. Thats all.

      • You do need to think more carefully before putting finger to keyboard, Peter and Young fossil.
        There are two stories here.
        The first, following on from and directly related to the heading, is an account of the horrific situation in Ukraine, and details as to how folk who want to make donations can do so.
        The second story, which has been sneaked in and has nothing to do with the OP, is about the ex Manston Airport.
        To say things such as “Shame on you anti manston keyboard warriors. I will say it again, shame on you. Some people just want to help. Thats all.” and “They are disgusting, heartless and vile.” is absurd.
        People are not saying don’t donate to the Ukranian crisis. They are pointing out that despite what Freudmann and Gale might say, there is no airport at Manston (RSP said as much in their DCO application). The site has no CAA licence. It has no access to UK airspace. It has no radar, ATC, control tower, or landing lights. It has no fuel.
        Pointing out that Manston cannot be used for flying aid out ir refugees in is not “disgusting”, “heartless” or “vile”. It’s just being realistic.
        One might use those adjectives to describe our government’s response to the refugee crisis facing Europe.

        • Those who somehow turned this into yet another debate on the rights and wrongs of an airport ARE disgusting, heartless and vile.

          I know it will spoil your chatt over lattes on Ramsgate seafront for up to 20 seconds at a time, but hey, isn’t your “suffering” worth it, just for a few weeks?

          • There is no airport. No working lights. No aircraft control. No staff. The money spent to get all that working and safe (and time) when there is capacity and lots of it at other airports!!! You are the heartless one. Wanting to slow down the help getting to these in need by setting up a ageing not fit for purpose airport when when better solutions are in place.

            Using the airports old barracks and accommodation for those fleeing and building a new housing Estate here to welcome those that need rehoming long term would be something far better and something I would support.

          • One could argue that it’s Roger Gale and Tony Freudmann who have turned this comments thread into “yet another debate on the rights and wrongs of an airport”.

      • I would say that calling anyone who expresses genuine concerns about the legitimacy of Freudmann’s claims “disgusting, heartless and vile” is hate speech. I think it is very possible to believe we should do all we can to support the Ukrainian people like Vasyl and his family whilst also being critical of people like Freudmann who are cynically using this tragedy to further their own aims. This does not make those who are critical “heartless” or “vile”

  9. They can help, but spending a fortune to get that airfield ready would take a lot of time and wasted resources just for little use. Funds and donations that should be better spent on helping those charities that help the people in need where they need it.
    Gale and Fraudeman are just hoping for more free cash from the taxpayer and using the airfield as an excuse to help out. There are airports up and running in the UK that are ready to help.

  10. Are there any collecting points for donations in Thanet to go out in the next few days? If so what are you collecting?

  11. There is a far more complex story and history about Russia and the Ukraine, including constant Western interference and special interests in the region, Nato on the Russian borders etc. etc. The one-sided account in the Western media tells you all you need to know about the propaganda driven narrative just now. Nothing on the Ukrainian killing of the Donbass civilians, government coup there etc. etc. Best to research widely and look at all sides without the black and white media and political filter. Remember Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, the former Yugoslavia etc. etc. Pretty shameful Western influences and actions there. It’s good to help, but it’s best to try and get a wider picture of it all.

  12. No landing lights, no radar, no control tower, no specialist fire & rescue, no survey of the condition of the runway (half days sweeping??) what could possibly go wrong?

  13. What this article is about is the armed invasion of Ukraine by Russia; the destruction of cities, the maiming and killing of civilians.
    Yes, there have been other wars and atrocities, dating back to the earliest times of the history of human kind.
    But this article is not a history lesson. It is not a debate about morals or ethics. It’sa report on the comments made by Vasyl Slobodyan, a Ukranian citizen, about the frightful situation in his homeland.
    At a meeting of the UN, over 140 countries, Western, Eastern, rich, poor, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, black, white voted to censure Russia.


    • That link is already in several of our articles and we will share news of whoever is attempting to help. I find it more shameful that these comments totally ignore the chap in the main piece to instead focus on one of the box outs (and it isn’t the only bit about who is offering help or how to help) because the offer is coming from somewhere you don’t like (and the collection at the site – which is separate I’d say – is being organised by a third party)

        • shameless opportunism should be countered whenever it appears
          In this case Lydd is fully operational and would be a better resource

          • Lydd Airport runway too short for large capacity aircraft to land/takeoff. It’s best to check facts before spouting off about airports, of which you appear to know little!

      • Maybe, if you hadn’t conflated the plight of this chap and his countrymen with an absurd puff piece by Freudmann and Gale about the non-airport at Manston, more people would have focussed their thoughts and comments on the tragedy that us Ukraine.

        • It isn’t conflated, it’s about aid for Ukraine. They offered aid at the request of the MP, that has been done, others have offered help or made donations and I cover that too. The fact some did not comment about the chap in the main piece, or wish safety for the families of him and his wife, is not because there is a box out on the piece, it’s because they didn’t say it.

          • The comments Freudmann made have nothing to do with collecting necessary supplies for the refugees.
            In fact unproven commentary detracts from the work of supporting Ukraine.
            Ask yourself this question,
            “how does his words add to the humanitarian effort?”

  15. It is IOTN that has conflated these two issues. And – yes – while IOTN did include a link to red cross and DEC campaigns, it did not devote large sections of the article to promote these officially sanctioned campaigns led by established and well known organisations. Instead, IOTN chose to promote the campaign of a private business (NOT an NGO, charity or even a CIC), that was registered as a limited company (United With Ukraine Ltd) less than 24hrs ago (on 4th March 2022). On that same day, Type1Style was putting out messages via LogisticsUK asking for advice or support from the logistics sector, which indicates that it does not yet have any established method of transporting any goods collected or even any knowledge of how to do so and yet is asking for volunteers and taking in goods from Monday anyway. This is irresponsible, at best, and it is irresponsible of IOTN to promote this over established and approved organisations such as British Red Cross and the DEC campaign. We all want to help – we are NOT heartless and vile – but help should be focused where it is actually going to be effective.

    • The other links had an article of their own previously, Type1Style are transporting medication, many ordinary people are making collections. And I did not call anyone vile. The other help organisations were sent to me by people in the Ukraine community in the UK, I guess they know a little about the situation and the avenues for help

  16. No, you didn’t call anyone vile, but you have done nothing to remove hate-filled comments from other posters (Peter Checkfield) which did. It is not clear what medical products Type1Style are moving – or how they are moving them (see note re logistics UK) – although it is worth looking at comments from their Instagram feed from those actually involved which questions some of the claims Type1Style has been making in this regard. Good that you “guess” people who contact you know what they’re talking about. Is that what passes for reporting these days? Always with the defensive answers, Kathy. Never holding your hands up, admitting error or even being open to question.

    • I hold my hands up when I have made a mistake, I just don’t agree with you, if I was that defensive your comment wouldn’t even be here.

  17. In the House of Commons last week, Sir RogerOak (spokesman for RSP) speaking about the Ukranian situation, said that we had no time to waste.
    Indeed so, Sir R; that’s why proper functioning airports such as Stansted and EMA are being used for humanitarian aid.

  18. Some of the comments on here are appalling, driven yet again by some shameless RSP opportunism to promote their failed cargo plan. Just before the bleeding heart pro camp gets too apoplectically misty eyed about humanitarianism let’s have a look where some of the offshore hidden money is coming from first shall we?

    Given aid flights are already operating from functioning, open airports, Roger Gale can also pause in his rush down to Wilko to pick up a couple of yard brooms and LED garden lights to sellotape onto the runway. Don’t fall down that sink hole Roger.

    Gross opportunism.

    Is anyone else loving the RSP ‘do you want jobs for your grandchildren’ latest advert of wild claims? What next? RSP adverts offering free of charge gardening unicorns? Lotto numbers? Hey, do you want free hogwash for life? Click here.

    • I often wondered what “Kafkaesque” meant.
      Having read this latest stuff from RSP and Sir Riveroak, I think I know.

  19. these people that complain about manston being used for humanitarian flights .are the same people that wanted the airport closed in the first place.thats there agenda im afraid .quite sad rearly

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