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Ukrainian soldier wounded during the Battle of Hostomel, arrives at the emergency area of a public hospital in Kyiv. Raphael Lafargue
medical aid

Ukrainian doctor: 'We need military aid now - Russia will not stop until Ukraine is destroyed'

Reporter Niall O’Connor, who is on the Ukraine/Polish border, talks to medics dealing with the injured.

The Journal’s Niall O’Connor is reporting from the Poland/Ukraine border. Read his previous stories here

A UKRAINIAN DOCTOR treating the wounded in Lviv has paid tribute to Irish humanitarians who have sent medical supplies but now believes a military response from Ireland and other countries is the only way to stop Russia. 

The medic, Dr Iryna Rybinkina, spoke to The Journal this morning after a night of treating the wounded from a Russian attack at Kozitsky which killed at least 35 Ukrainian soldiers.

Iryna, who travelled back to her native Ukraine from New Zealand as the invasion started, works as a Consultant Cardiothoracic Anaesthetist.

The medic, who is Director of SMART Medical Aid, has said what she has seen on the ground has compelled her to call for military assistance. 

We were due to meet Iryna at the border as we continued to report from Przemyśl and Medyka, where 10,000 refugees were expected to arrive today.

But such was the fighting that she stayed inside Lviv to care for the injured. 

“As a doctor, I have given an [Hippocratic] oath but to be honest coming back home seeing all the destruction and pain I would urge governments to form a military response,” she said. 

“Putting Ukrainian flags up on buildings is flattering and playing Ukrainian music but Russia doesn’t understand reasoning. Even those corridors for evacuation that were discussed – they have got targeted immediately – I have seen the injured.

“We need this to stop. If it would take the guns from different countries then we need support. Russia is not going to stop until Ukraine is destroyed.

“I am a very peaceful person – what I’ve seen in the country, seen on the border – pale frightened people and children in mutiny because they have spent the time hiding from bombs.

“It is horrendous, innocent people, children, men and women are dying and all this is happening in front of us in Europe. No one can be neutral about it. Letting it advance like this is just repeating what happened in 1939 when the Nazis attacked Poland. 

Image from iOS (12) Dr Iryna Rybinkina is treating the injured at a hospital in Lviv. Iryna Rybinkina Iryna Rybinkina

“There needs to be a way to close the sky and then we can deal with them on the ground.

“A UN mission with Irish troops would be a start – but we need that help now,” she added.  

Ambulances targeted

Iryna said that Russians have been attacking her paramedic colleagues in their ambulances.

“The patients go to Lviv hospitals – they are well stocked up but in other locations, doctors are calling us from places in tears. They do not have the supplies.

“We are monitoring this situation and we are trying to send aid their way. The devastation of this war in Ukraine is unimaginable – they are bombing hospitals and if you put a red cross on a vehicle it is instantly attacked by the Russians.

“We have seen this and there has been injuries and deaths – we have tried to evacuate people – if you are driving an ambulance you are putting a target on your back,” she explained. 

Iryna paid tribute to the Irish medical aid response and said she has been liaising with Irish medics who have been helping to source the much needed medical equipment.

“There has been an amazing response from Ireland – there are trucks of meds and bandages and medical equipment, even trucks of antibiotics on the way from Ireland.

“The list of needs is very long – we need tourniquets but especially military Individual First Aid Kits, known as IFAKs.  They are sourcing those and the Irish response has been unbelievable.

“I have received phone calls and texts – making supplies for us. Been incredible. Supporting us is really touching. Know them personally doctors and nurses Louise and Dave – all the people who have helped,” she added. 

At the makeshift refugee camp in Medyka Border Crossing we spoke to Firefighter and paramedic Tanguy Charrel, a member of the French Firefighter Association, about the medical needs of the refugees. He and his colleagues are providing a 24-hour medical cover at the border.

“We have some people coming through with small injuries so we have a doctor and nurse and the firefighters to help people with those injuries. 

“The injuries are from walking, the legs, the feet – they walk a lot – lots of people are tired and they also need to rest because they are very tired,” he added. 

Tanguy Tanguy Cheral, a French firefighter providing medical aid at Medyka on the Polish/Ukraine border. Niall O'Connor / The Journal Niall O'Connor / The Journal / The Journal

Tanguy and his colleagues have not seen any injuries caused by the fighting – people who are injured by war are taken to Lviv.

“Medical is not very necessary here for the moment but we don’t know what is going to happen in the future.

“We need some engineering things, generators for electricity but for the moment they are co-ordinating this so keep quiet and in the future, they will need more help,” he added. 

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