Chesterfield man whose girlfriend is in Ukraine starts online fundraising appeal to help those in war-torn nation

A Chesterfield man – whose girlfriend and her parents live in Ukraine – has set up an online fundraising campaign to help support them as well as the humanitarian effort in the war-torn country.

Tuesday, 1st March 2022, 11:15 am
Updated Tuesday, 1st March 2022, 12:37 pm

Dan Rhodes’ partner Marina and her family live in Poltava, a city in central Ukraine.

Last Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine – shocking the world.

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Chesterfield man Dan Rhodes - whose girlfriend and her family live in Poltava in Ukraine - sent us this picture. It shows Poltava a few days ago.

Dan, 30, of Hady Hill, has now set up this page – www.paypal.com/pools/c/8HDixPR19F – to raise money to aid Marina and her loved ones and the Red Cross, which is helping those caught up in the war.

“Marina and her parents and a lot of people in Ukraine didn’t think Putin would actually invade,” Dan told the Derbyshire Times.

“So it came as a shock when he did.

“Since then, there’s been an awful lot of worry and anxiety – and fear about what may happen.”

Dan says it is a worrying time.

An air raid siren was heard for the first time in Poltava on Sunday and again on Monday.

Dan said: “I spoke to Marina on Monday – she was out shopping in a supermarket with her mum when the siren went off.

“She said it’s the most fearful she’s felt in her entire life.

“They ran home.”

Residents of Poltava queuing to join the military efforts.

Dan said there have not been any battles in Poltava itself so far – but supply chains have been affected.

“Supermarket shelves are very empty,” he added.

“There are limits on ATM cash withdrawals – and in some places no cash withdrawals are allowed.

“Some shops won’t accept card payments – so the ability to buy things is massively impacted.

Empty shelves in a Poltava supermarket.

“Marina also says there’s a lot of fake news on social media which is causing much panic.

“For the last few nights Marina and her parents have been doing 'shifts' during the night so at least one of them is awake at all times to stay alert for any warnings or air raid sirens.”

For now, Marina and her parents intend to stay where they are.

Dan said: “That may change if the Russian army gets closer to, or inside, the city.

“They do have a country house which they could go to – but there’s a fear of getting in the car and travelling long distances at the moment.

“The official advice of when an air raid siren sounds is to go to a shelter, but it’s the family’s choice – as it is many others – to stay home and avoid the danger of being outside if missiles are fired.”

Dan described Ukraine as a ‘peaceful, democratic country’ and added he was ‘sickened’ that ‘this proud, wonderful, sovereign nation’ had been invaded by Russia in the year 2022.

He also urged the UK Government to ‘do more’ to help Ukrainian refugees.

Like so many people across the world, Dan said he feels ‘powerless’ at the moment.

“I just want to hold Marina and hug her and be there for her – so this is really tough,” he added.

“I’ve been thinking about what I can do – so that’s why I’ve set up the online fundraising page.

“Marina is limited in the amount of work she can do at the moment due to the Russian invasion.

“The money raised will allow her and family to continue to purchase food, drinking water and essential goods.

“All money raised will be split between Marina via Western Union and to the Red Cross, which is supporting the humanitarian needs in Ukraine.

“Please help if you can.

“Слава Україні (Glory to Ukraine).”

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