Estonian aid convoy hit by Russian missile in Ukraine

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Vaba Ukraina and Ukraina Abi's destroyed convoy in Ukraine on October 6, 2023.
Vaba Ukraina and Ukraina Abi's destroyed convoy in Ukraine on October 6, 2023. Source: MTÜ Vaba Ukraina

Volunteers from Estonian aid organizations suffered minor injuries after a Russian missile landed close to their convoy in eastern Ukraine, a representative said on Friday.

The group was delivering aid in Ukraine and was organized by NGOs "Vaba Ukraina" (Free Ukraine) and "Ukraina Abi" (Ukraine Aid).

Sven Salumets, a representative from "Vaba Ukraina", posted photos on X, formerly known as Twitter, of several destroyed vehicles on Friday.

He said a Russian Iskander ballistic missile landed close to the vehicles.

"This morning, a joint convoy of ours and Ukraina Abi MTÜ came under enemy rocket fire. According to the boys, an Iskander [missile] fell about 20 meters away from them. All the vehicles were destroyed, the boys were lucky to survive and were unhurt. We are assisting them as needed, together with our partners in Ukraine," Salumets wrote.

While the volunteers were unharmed, two children died in a nearby house, he said.

Salumets told newspaper Postimees the team was in a residential area and they had already distributed their aid.

MTÜ Vaba Ukraina is a private initiative established in 2014. Its goal is to support Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression.

Ukraina Abi MTÜ supports the Ukrainian armed forces with off-road vehicles and tactical equipment. 

Volunteer: The missile landed about ten meters from the bus

On Friday evening, Lennart Bergström from "Ukraina Abi" described the incident to "Aktuaalne kaamera": "We arrived in Kharkiv the night before. The team settled down to sleep. The plan was to start the journey towards Kyiv early in the morning. I woke up an hour earlier than the other guys to follow another crew member into town. I put my backpack and clothes on the NGO's bus and decided to take another car to pick up a friend. And just as I was leaving, within about three minutes, an Iskander missile hit about ten meters from the bus."

Bergström said team members received minor injuries and are now back at work.

Vehicles belonging to Bergström and the International Legion were damaged by the missile.

"Two cars have been completely destroyed and two cars were badly damaged but they can be repaired. But it will take time," he said.

Earlier this week, an Estonian man serving with the International Legion was killed in action in Eastern Ukraine, Postimees reported.

This article has been updated with comments from Lennart Bergström and Sven Salumets.


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Editor: Merili Nael, Tarmo Maiberg, Helen Wright

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