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Shipping containers packed with thousands of boxes of food funded by generous-hearted Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail readers are now only a few hundred miles from the front line in eastern Ukraine – and its desperate civilians.

A staggering 500,000 food parcels have been bought in an £8 million joint project between the Mail Force charity and the Ukrainian Embassy in London.

Readers have pledged £11 million to our Ukrainian refugee appeal, which was kickstarted by a £500,000 donation from the Mail’s parent company DMGT at the request of Lord Rothermere, chairman of the Daily Mail and General Trust, and Lady Rothermere.

The MoS watched last week as a train carrying the first shipment made its way east. Russia has targeted Ukraine’s rail network, so we are not revealing exactly where the boxes are.

More than 186,000 food boxes have already been packed in Leicester and in excess of 70 lorry loads of food have arrived at a secure depot in central Poland where they are loaded onto trains.

More than 186,000 food boxes have already been packed in Leicester and in excess of 70 lorry loads of food have arrived at a secure depot in central Poland where they are loaded onto trains. Pictured: Vitalina Polishenko who works on the packing line for the boxes in Leicester

More than 186,000 food boxes have already been packed in Leicester and in excess of 70 lorry loads of food have arrived at a secure depot in central Poland where they are loaded onto trains. Pictured: Vitalina Polishenko who works on the packing line for the boxes in Leicester

More than 186,000 food boxes have already been packed in Leicester and in excess of 70 lorry loads of food have arrived at a secure depot in central Poland where they are loaded onto trains. Pictured: Vitalina Polishenko who works on the packing line for the boxes in Leicester

Shipping containers packed with thousands of boxes of food funded by generous-hearted Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail readers are now only a few hundred miles from the front line in eastern Ukraine – and its desperate civilians. Pictured: Vitalina Polishenko who works on the packing line for the boxes in Leicester

Shipping containers packed with thousands of boxes of food funded by generous-hearted Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail readers are now only a few hundred miles from the front line in eastern Ukraine – and its desperate civilians. Pictured: Vitalina Polishenko who works on the packing line for the boxes in Leicester

Shipping containers packed with thousands of boxes of food funded by generous-hearted Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail readers are now only a few hundred miles from the front line in eastern Ukraine – and its desperate civilians. Pictured: Vitalina Polishenko who works on the packing line for the boxes in Leicester

 

Each box contains 12,000 calories of food, enough to feed someone for a week. It is hoped that they will be delivered to civilians in the Donetsk and Luhansk areas of eastern Ukraine, now the focus of the war.

Among those running short of supplies is Roman, 42, who is living in the basement beneath a block of flats in the shelled city of Severodonetsk. He has stayed because his elderly parents and frail grandmother refused to flee.

‘We all live in the basement, because shooting by Russians never stops,’ he said. ‘The situation with food is close to critical. From time to time volunteers manage to squeeze in some humanitarian aid, risking their lives because it’s extremely dangerous, but our part of the city is so hard to access that it happens very rarely.

‘There is no bread in the city, and hasn’t been for a long while. No matter how much money you want to give for it, it simply isn’t there.’

Water is also scarce. ‘When it rains, we rush out even if there’s shelling and fill buckets with rain water,’ he said. ‘Earlier we could get water from a nearby lake, but it’s too dangerous to get to it now.

‘Usually we manage to eat once a day. We cook porridge on the fire, and deliver it to grandmothers who can’t walk.’

Russia has been accused of targeting aid workers bringing food supplies to civilians. Food distribution centres have been bombed and two British aid workers, Paul Urey and Dylan Healy, were taken hostage by Russian forces last week.

‘This is one of the shameful aims pursued by the Russian Federation,’ said Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the Donetsk region.

Svetlana Popova, press secretary of Luhansk regional administration, said: ‘The situation with food is difficult all around the region, there are towns and villages where the situation is a full-scale humanitarian catastrophe.’

Additional reporting: Will Stewart

Source: Daily Mail

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