Dutch-Latvian initiative aims to send ambulance to Ukraine

The latest in a number of Latvian initiaitives to support the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against Russian attack aims to send much-needed ambulances across Europe.

Stichting Zeilen van Vrijheid (The Sails of Freedom Foundation) is a grassroots humanitarian organisation and registered charity that emerged in the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The Foundation sends ambulances and other emergency vehicles, filled with medicines, medical devices, and other humanitarian aid. It is officially endorsed by the Office of the President of Ukraine and the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine.

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Since March, the Foundation has sent more than 100 equipped and loaded ambulance cars to Ukraine (including four neonatal, two paediatric and a medical bus), over 30 pickups/SUVs, a fire truck and more than 2,000 bicycles. Now Latvian donors are also taking part, according to Sergey Snegirev, a Latvian small business owner and volunteer working on the project.

"It always starts with a friend of a friend, doesn't it? A buddy of mine called me from New York in April and said that his friend from Amsterdam was buying an ambulance and the closest one she could get was on sale in Lithuania – and I am the closest person to that ambulance able to do the paperwork and drive it to Ukraine. So I did," Sergey told LSM.

"The Foundation is run by a tireless Ukrainian woman, Nika, and brings together volunteers, donors and medical sponsors from all over the world," said Sergey. "Right now I am buying one ambulance that would arrive into Ukraine on November 18 as a sign of Latvian solidarity with a country fighting for its independence. The cool part is that the foundation will essentially double our donation by re-stocking our used ambulance with necessary medical equipment and supplies so it can start working in Ukraine right away." 

"I intend to go all the way to the de-occupied territories in the East. In two days, we have collected almost 7,000 euros out of the 20,000 euros required, all of it in small private donations. One person who donated 10 euros was a Ukrainian refugee girl. It broke my heart," Sergey said.

To make a donation, readers are advised to visit Sergey's Facebook page for full details, including a GoFundMe page, or to visit the website of the Sails of Freedom Foundation

Our colleagues at LSM's Russian-language service have also reported on the initiative and it is planned that a journalist will accompany Sergey on his next trip to chronicle the delivery of the ambulance.

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