A group of volunteers living in Ireland have started a trip to Ukraine to help defend their home country.
The men – including husbands, fathers and sons – left Dublin Airport this evening for Krakow in Poland.
They plan to drive to the Ukrainian border to join the civil resistance against the Russian invasion.
Pavlo Serdiuk, who lives in Cork, said: “It’s my duty, you know, to my country. It’s at war now, so I have to go out there and do what I can.”
Speaking to RTÉ News at Dublin Airport, the 23-year-old said: “I’m not going to lie. I’m scared to go. The closer you get the more scared you are, but it’s like that. “
Another man who lives in Dundalk with his family, known as Stanislov, said it was “heartbreaking”.
“It’s emotional, not just for today, it’s emotional for the last three days I made the decision,” he said.
“There were a lot of tears in the house.”
Vadym Binko was joined at the airport by his wife, young son and daughter.
“I have lived in Ireland for over 20 years. I love Ireland. My children are Irish and my wife is here too. But for me, Ukraine is also my home,” he said.
Maryna Binko said she was scared for her husband but she said “at the same time I feel like this is the thing we have to do and we have to support him as a family”.
Maksym Savych, who previously served in the Ukrainian army for six years, said “it is important to return home to help fight the Russians”.
He said he decided to go to the front “to help my friends, my family and my country”.
Roman Protsenko, a father of two, said he was very moved to leave his family to go to Ukraine.
However, he said ‘we are very united at the moment and we are very strong’.
“They are on our land,” he added.
When asked what she thought of her husband’s decision, his wife Tetyana replied “how do you think I feel? Of course I don’t want him to leave, but I understand that. “
The men received donations of essential supplies from other members of the Ukrainian community in Ireland, as well as from Irish people.
The rations included helmets, body armor, batteries, sleeping bags and cash.
The group from Ireland is among those who responded to a call from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for anyone who can return to Ukraine to return to defend the country.