QC tells of horrors of war on Ukraine border as he delivers aid with son


barrister had embarked on a 1,100-mile journey from west London to deliver essential military and medical supplies to the Ukraine border with his son.

Paul Lowenstein QC, 58, from Barnes, west London, said he “couldn’t sit by and watch” the war in Ukraine on the news and he was inspired to help the war effort of Ukraine after hearing a story on the radio about people delivering goods to the border.

He told The Standard: “I couldn’t sit by and see what was happening on the news and not do something. I was incredibly conscious of the history of Europe 80 years ago and the mass flows of people caused by the Second World War.”

Paul and his son Jonah set off on the 80 hour journey by road

/ Paul Lowenstein

Borrowing a 3.5 tonne van from a friend, Mr Lowenstein and his son Jonah set off on the 80-hour journey with medical and humanitarian aid donated by a group of medics from the capital.


“I wasn’t scared for my son be honest, he is a big boy, he’s 21 and bigger than me,” he said.

“They were more scared to bring me. I tried to do the research and we would only go as far as the Polish border and the buffer zone.

“I felt relatively safe but I did worry about the uncertainties of it. As if in a movie, it got colder and colder as we went east and kept going until there was snow on the ground. The last hour, as dusk fell, it got really cold.

Seemingly neverending queues of refugees at the Ukrainian border

/ Paul Lowenstein

“The first thing that shocked us was how many people were in the buffer zone coming out of Ukraine. Long queues of people trapped behind green metal.

“I was there for four hours and the line didn’t get shorter. It was never-ending. It was women, children and grandparents standing in the freezing cold but remaining completely orderly. They weren’t complaining.

“The locals were giving them food and liquids and pushing it through the fence.

Refugees get aid as they reach Polish border

/ Paul Lowenstein

“The size of the humanity, it looked just like my imagination of the Second World War with people being herded in to places.

“The children were coughing and were tired. Everybody had a gaunt, hollow look on their faces. There are armed guards from both sides carrying huge machine guns.

“Everyone is working together as fast as they can with farmers bringing their vans to travel back to the warzones with relief.”

Paul Lowenstein (centre left) and Anastasia with Jonah (centre right) handing over goods.

/ Paul Lowenstein

On his journey, Mr Lowenstein used his law contacts to deliver aid to a fellow lawyer called Anastasia who had recently fled Kyiv with her children.

He said: “We managed to speak to her for a few minutes as we held the boot up but now we speak every day.

“She woke up one morning and her rented flat in one of the most famous streets in Kyiv was in the middle of a battlefield. There were missiles firing back and forth over her house.

“So she managed to get out of there to the countryside. She’d been waiting for hours for us but wasn’t annoyed in the slightest; she was very pleased to see us.

“She told us which hospitals the stuff was going to, the maternity wards where women were having babies anywhere they could.”

Since returning to the UK at the weekend, the lawyer has raised £13,500.

He will set up a “nimble” shuttle service to get medical supplies requested by Ukrainian doctors to frontline hospitals and refugees back to the border and out of danger of Russian advances.

“I don’t know if I’m going back, I’m doing more good raising awareness and money with the contacts we’ve made,” he said.

“We need ligatures to stem the flow of blood, hormones and supplies to perform emergency tracheotomies. I was told people needed special blankets that were strong enough to carry people out on like a stretcher.

“I would ask the people of London to donate money as generously as they can. We are a small organisation trying to reach places bigger charities can’t reach. We have to be nimble with smaller vans on smaller roads but can still resupply hospitals in several towns.”

You can contribute to this effort here.

Insurer NFU Mutual is allowing customers to use their private and commercial vehicles to deliver humanitarian aid into neighbouring countries.


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