Agnis Bisters prepares armored vans, formerly used to transport money. Now in Bakhmuth, one of the vans has already passed its test.
“Car super, thank you. It already saved Sasha and my Papa. There are holes in the back from 7.62-millimeter caliber bullets,” Dasha told LTV.
“Two bullet holes. I don't know the flight path, whether it saved me or no. Thanks for this armored car. Everything works, performs its function,” added the volunteer in Donbas, Alexander.
“There's armor, the door is armored, too. Inside, everything is done with armor steel, too. And as we see, its armor is working," said Agnis.
He explained that the most important thing is that it would be a normal van, but with armor inside. "The original is 4.5 tonnes heavy, then there is a limiter of 89 km/h, a power of 120 kW. But thanks to one acquaintance, the whole ecology, all temperature sensors that could force the engine to work in emergency mode, all of it is removed, unprogrammed. And all the limiters [are removed] so that the car is much more dynamic. 4.5 tonnes is 4.5 tonnes. No one has deceived physics yet. It takes horses [horsepower] to move it," said Agnis.
Before traveling to Ukraine, the money safe and other unnecessary things are taken out to reduce its weight.
“An engine like an engine. Two liters, two turbines. Two batteries. It's all mostly standard,” Agnis said.
"Everything started, as for everyone, on February 24, when it was news that everything was bad and the Russians were attacking. Then the first news emerged that there were Latvians going to the border, carrying loads, bringing people. At that point, I bought one van. Ordinary Opel. Half passenger, half cargo. I also volunteered, left a few times, took humanitarian aid there, brought people to a couple of families.
"Then we created a separate association and started to travel in principle to the front line itself. The closest I've been, it's five kilometers from the front," Agnis said.
Then he saw the LTV story, "how a young girl drives a pretty battered van, and it didn't look like it was fresh. I understand that ordinary steel is not holding anything. One grenade explodes and all is gone.
"Warriors fight, but very much work is done by volunteers. […] It is not advertised, but it is they who, with the most conventional cars, drive into the so-called grey zone, which is neither one nor the other. Take food, medicine, warm socks,” he said.
Volunteers help people close to the front. Dasha brings food, gifts to children, batteries, warm clothing. There are people who are not prepared to evacuate. The feeling that they have not been left alone means a lot to those living in the forefront. And volunteers now use an armored van for rides.
“I am very grateful to the people of Latvia. On behalf of the Ukrainians, we will say very much to Latvians that we value your help and our machinery. Support us, together we will certainly win!” said Dasha.
Agnis has already taken two armored vans to the Ukrainian volunteers. “But this is now the fourth. But there's other machinery. There are also conventional vans and cars,” said Agnis. “[…] I just do it so it doesn't come to us. Because if you simply take a ruler and look at it, it is 2,000 kilometers to the front, which is relatively nothing.”