Two landscape gardeners from Scotland spent Sunday night holed up in an underground basement with a Ukrainian family in the north-east of the country after coming under fire.
Joseph McCarthy, 55, from Airth in Falkirk, and Gary Taylor, 45, from Bonnyrigg in Midlothian, made the 2000-mile journey from Scotland to Ukraine last week in a bid to help people fleeing the war-torn nation.
The co-workers said they felt obliged to offer their help after following developments since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine.
However, McCarthy and Taylor were robbed and came under fire at the weekend.
The pair managed to find sanctuary in an underground basement thanks to the kindness of local residents in the city of Sumy.
In a video posted on TikTok, McCarthy said: “We are in Sumy and we’ve had some real bad problems today with the Russian Army.
“We were shot at, our tyres were shot at, my phone was stolen, all of the food that we had in the van was stolen.
“Now we are actually in Sumy, we are going to complete our mission.”
He continued: “We got chatting to some locals, had a really nice time and they helped fix our punctures and then they brought us down a back route that got us into Sumy, which was absolutely amazing, couldn’t have asked for anything else.
“Things are looking up a little bit because we are going to complete Mission Impossible Three.
“We are in somebody’s bunker, this is us, this is life, and this is 2022 for a couple living in Ukraine and they have to come down to this little bunker because of whatever is going on – I mean what sort of life is that?
“No matter what me and Gaz have been through, these people have been going through if for weeks, they’re going through it every day.”
McCarthy told STV News that he came up with the idea to travel to Ukraine and set aside £10,000 of his own money to fund the trip.
The co-workers anticipate the task will last up to four weeks and they plan to stay in B&Bs and even sleep in their car until their money runs out.
The former lorry driver has lived in Scotland for 13 years. He started the landscaping company after being placed on furlough.
His wife, Fiona, who he married in July last year, has been posting updates on the company’s Facebook page and the gardeners have been documenting their journey on their Tiktok account @ready2rocklandscaping.