TWO veterans have made their way from St Helens into Ukraine to deliver humanitarian aid and assist with civilian casualties.

No Duff UK, a St Helens-based support network for veterans and emergency service workers, has been collecting "urgent" donations of medical supplies as the Russian invasion into Ukraine has continued.

On Monday, April 11, No Duff founder Dean Owen left St Helens for Ukraine with the donated supplies, picking up Ric Coulson, another veteran from Bradford, along the way.

St Helens Star: Dean Owen, founder of No Duff has made his way into UkraineDean Owen, founder of No Duff has made his way into Ukraine

After arriving in Lviv, a western Ukrainian city, on Wednesday, April 13, the pair have been taken to refugee camps and provided with accommodation from a Ukrainian doctor, who has also acted as their interpreter.

They have also been inside a military hospital to enquire about what they are most in need of, while planning to deliver supplies further into Ukraine, as well as assisting with any civilian casualties and evacuations.

St Helens Star: LvivLviv

St Helens Star: Dean and Ric have drove from St Helens into LvivDean and Ric have drove from St Helens into Lviv

Describing his experience so far, Dean said: "Driving through the border, you can sense the unease and tension. However, the guards and soldiers had a sense of humour, and it was light-hearted banter.

"As you drive through towards Lviv there are numerous military checkpoints and it seemed at every checkpoint we were stopped, and the vehicle was searched."

Inside the refugee camp in Lviv, Dean said that people are playing their part in the war effort by making camouflage netting.

Others have been waiting in line to have a meeting with a therapist, each with a "solemn look on their face" and a sense that they had "seen and been through enough to last a lifetime".

St Helens Star: Inside a refugee camp in LvivInside a refugee camp in Lviv

St Helens Star: Ric Coulson helping with the camouflage netting in the refugee campRic Coulson helping with the camouflage netting in the refugee camp

Dean, from Sutton Heath, added: "The experience so far has been very humble, there is very much a 'Dunkirk Spirit' amongst the people of Ukraine and they are very thankful for any donation they receive."

However, noting the seriousness of the situation inside Ukraine, Dean said they have been told stories where missile strikes and heavy artillery is a constant threat.

The pair's journey into Ukraine is a self-funded voluntary mission and they are continuing to appeal for medical supplies and cash donations so they can assist as many people as possible inside Ukraine.

To donate, visit this link

St Helens Star: Ric, Ivan, and Dean in LvivRic, Ivan, and Dean in Lviv