Sergii Zavadskyi from the Rotary Club of Kyvi

At a recent Ayr Rotary Club meeting, we were privileged to link up with Sergii Zavadskyi of the Rotary Club of Kyiv Ukraine, district 2232. A retired mechanical engineer with two sons, a daughter and four grandchildren, Sergii has held many prestigious positions in business. He joined Rotary in 2000, serving in many roles and is currently Assistant of Rotary Coordinator of Region 24, as National Polio Plus Committee Chair in Ukraine, Chair of Rotary Leadership Institute Division Ukraine and as Commodore of IYFR Ukrainian Kyivska Rus Fleet.

As a fitting introduction to his talk, Sergii showed a harrowing video of the impact of the Russian invasion of his country and how Rotary are providing humanitarian aid through the Rotary Hub which distributes clothing, food and medicines. So far 353 disaster response grants totaling $15 million in 29 countries have been awarded by Rotary International to support people affected by the war.

Sergii continued by confirming that the UK has committed substantial military assistance and is hosting a major infantry training programme, supported by a number of allies. This is in addition to humanitarian and economic aid currently being sent. However, Ukraine is in desperate need of ambulances, firefighting trucks and generators. To clearly demonstrate the need for generators, we were shown a night time photograph of Kyvi taken only a few months ago and a current photo. The astounding comparison of a city bathed in glowing light and now one in near total darkness brought home the plight of citizens whose infrastructure is being targeted by the invaders.

In another incomprehensible wave of destruction in the village of Moschun where 90% of buildings, homes, businesses and churches were left in complete ruin, Sergii explained clothes, boots and hollowed out tanks remained scattered throughout the town. Land mines had also been placed in a nearby forest and fields by retreating Russian forces, deterring local farmers from going onto their land. Modular houses are now being supplied by the West in an effort to protect the inhabitants from the oncoming winter. Six hundred are needed, with a target of 250/300 houses within the next two months.

We were extremely grateful to hear from Sergii of the international response to this invasion of his country and Rotarian Alex Thomson gave a warm, well deserved vote of thanks.