Thousands of sandbags have been sent to Ukraine to help protect historic monuments, memorials and statues in its besieged capital after an appeal from Kyiv to its twin city, Edinburgh.
More than 3000 bags are now on a train destined for the Ukrainian capital after Kyiv called on Edinburgh, known worldwide for its own historic centre, for help to protect statues and monuments from Russian bombardment.
The appeal to the office of Lord Provost, Frank Ross, soon saw 11 organisations step into action, delivering the bags less than two weeks after the request came in.
The Lord Provost said: “I’m delighted we were able to answer our twin city Kyiv’s call for help so quickly and that the sandbags will soon be put to good use protecting their treasured monuments and, with that, their history.”
The sandbags were donated to the Lord Provost by Falkirk Council, and the bags were then flown to Krakow, Poland, before being loaded onto a train to Kyiv.
Dorothy Reid, roads and grounds manager for Falkirk Council, said: “There’s already a massive humanitarian effort going on, however, this seemed something that was a bit different, and we were really happy to offer a hand with.
“We hope that some of the city’s historic landmarks can be protected with the sandbags and our small donation helps Kyiv and its citizens maintain its cultural identity.”
Earlier this month, Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, and Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, were made freemen of Edinburgh in honour of their “leadership and heroism”.
The freedom of the city is Edinburgh’s most prestigious honour, and dates back more than 560 years to 1459.
The president and mayor join an exclusive club of freemen of the capital, with others including the Duke of Edinburgh, Sir Sean Connery and Nelson Mandela.