#HeroesofUkraine: White Angel will be saving lives as long as there are people in needJune 01, 2022
Every day, the White Angel, a group of police officers led by Rustam Lukomskyi, goes to the small towns of the Donetsk region near the frontline. Despite the constant shelling and the enemy’s proximity, they bring food, medicine, basic necessities, and hope to the local population.
Just a week ago, the White Angel evacuated an elderly man with a disability from the village of Antonivka. Forty minutes after Rustam Lukomskyi and his team took the man to a safer place, an enemy shell hit the apartment. Such examples give an understanding of the importance of regular visits and timely help to civilians.
Since 2014, the Donetsk region has been suffering from Russian aggression, and currently, the situation has significantly deteriorated. As a result of the daily shelling, many people in the Donetsk region are experiencing the realities of war without access to basic necessities. Often, residents of remote towns receive food and medicine only through the efforts of volunteers and police, who risk their lives helping these people.
How the story of the White Angel began
The name White Angel comes from the white ambulance car the police officer Rustam Lukomskyi started using to help people on the first day of the war. He brings medicine, food, water, and basic necessities to the population. On their way back, he evacuates civilians and the wounded ones and collects the bodies of the dead.
We are working with the population to understand how many people are left and how much help is needed. We bring humanitarian aid provided by organisations and people who want to help, and we ask locals to save their lives.
The main challenges in the work
Rustam Lukomskyi believes that the main challenge in his team’s work is the reluctance of residents to evacuate, despite the direct threat to their lives and health. “They evacuate only when they have nothing left. And we are afraid that we will not be able to help them later, that it will be too late,” Rustam admits.
There are still many civilians left in the towns of Mariinka and Krasnohorivka in the Donetsk region, including children and the elderly. Every day, the cities are under heavy shelling, and civilians often become a target of Russian military aggression. White Angel is helping the ones with severe injuries. “Now, the skills we gained during the first aid training have come in handy. Driving is dangerous when there is a fight, but a person’s life is more important,” Rustam Lukomskyi says.
Joint efforts, the secret behind the “White Angel” success
The White Angel team emphasises the importance of mutual assistance. “I’m not alone, there are many of us, and we have to take care of those around us,” Rustam Lukomsky explains that people in the affected areas share food and water, help distribute humanitarian aid, and cooperate with the police in many ways. He intends to continue his work no matter what, just because the local population needs his assistance.
The European Union Advisory Mission in Ukraine’s #HeroesofUkraine series tells the stories of civilian security sector representatives who, despite wartime difficulties, fulfil their primary duty – to help civilians.