Published in the Daily Express on 06 February 2024. By Giles Sheldrick.
Billionaire businessman Lord Ashcroft has paid for medical kit to be supplied to the front line as Ukraine’s war with Russia is about to enter its third year.
The peer has made a significant donation to pay for a key component in trauma medical packs, which can make the difference between life and death if a soldier is seriously injured in battle.
The medical supplies arrived in Ukraine over the weekend on a road convoy from the UK, along with other much-needed equipment and goods. Ukraine is nearly two years into its all-out war with Russia.
Lord Ashcroft has co-operated with Leleka-Ukraine, a charitable foundation which was created in the aftermath of Russia illegally annexing the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. Leleka-Ukraine seeks to procure and distribute medical and first-aid supplies to paramedics, emergency crews and hospitals.
Lord Ashcroft’s donation has been used to buy large quantities of Celox, which helps stop bleeding when a serviceman, or woman, suffers a gunshot, blast or stab wound.
The success of applying Celox has led to it being used by NATO forces and “first responder units” all around the world. Chemicals in the Celox begin to stop even heavy bleeding, through clotting, within one minute of being applied.
Lord Ashcroft, a former Deputy Chairman and Treasurer of the Conservative Party, is a passionate supporter of Ukraine in its war with Russia. He has travelled to the country five times since the full-scale war began in February 2022.
He said: “I am delighted to be able to help Ukraine in this way. Having spent a lot of time in the country over the past two years, including several visits to the frontline, I know the extent of the suffering that the country, particularly its Armed Forces, is having to endure.
“I looked carefully into the best way that I could help save lives and I discovered that Ukraine is desperately short of much-needed supplies of Celox. With the help of British aid groups, I have been able to locate and purchase substantial quantities of Celox which have now arrived safely in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.”
Iryna Huk, the director of Leleka-Ukraine, said: “We are hugely grateful to Lord Ashcroft for his generous support and we are delighted to be teaming up with him on this important project. With severe haemorrhaging being a major cause of deaths on the battlefield, the use by field medics of haemostatic gauze such as Celox or similar products is a clear life-saver.”
The supplies were acquired by Macclesfield Ukrainian Aid (MUA), a not-for-profit organisation. The group has delivered more than £3 million worth of medical supplies, on top of a huge array of other goods, while making 27 humanitarian trips to Ukraine.
Rick Mobbs, a former soldier and the field operations director for MUA, said: “It’s fantastic that Lord Ashcroft and Leleka-Ukraine have forged a partnership that means this product will soon be saving the lives of Ukrainian servicemen.
“We were sent a thank-you video by one soldier who had been treated with Celox which we had supplied, and it had been used by his team’s medics to save his life.”
The supplies of Celox, which is manufactured in the UK, were delivered to Kyiv by the Ukraine Freedom Company (UFC), another not-for-profit organisation. UFC was formed early in 2022 to provide humanitarian aid and critical medical supplies for Ukraine.
Tim Anstee, a former Royal Marine, co-founder of the group and who has helped organise 11 previous convoys of aid to Ukraine, said: “Ukraine Freedom Company is delighted to have delivered these life-saving supplies safely on behalf of Lord Ashcroft and to his partner group in Ukraine.”
The latest UK aid convoy to Ukraine comes at a difficult stage in the country’s war with Russia. Fighting on the frontline has become something of a stalemate and Russia has claimed small gains of territory in recent weeks, while some Western countries have been experiencing “war fatigue” when it comes to supplying money and arms to Ukraine.
In October last year, Lord Ashcroft joined a humanitarian aid convoy organised jointly by MUA and the UFC. The convoy drove approaching 2,000 miles in total in Ukraine alone and for up to 13 hours a day over five days, delivering supplies to cities and towns close to the frontline including Zaporizhzhia, Odesa and Kramatorsk.
Lord Ashcroft has made other donations towards good causes for Ukraine over the past two years. In August last year, BRAVO VICTOR, the military veterans’ charity, revealed that it had received a generous donation from the British philanthropist to help 70 Ukrainian athletes train in Britain for the 2023 Warrior Games in Florida. Ukraine’s team was made up of serving and former members of its Armed Forces.