Volunteers who helped Ukrainian army could get up 10 years in Polish prison


War in the Donbas

Polish bullet-proof vests for the National Guard could be destroyed; volunteers who purchased them could get up to 10 years in prison.

According to the Open Dialogue Foundation, its volunteers have donated more than 270 bullet-proof vests for Ukraine’s Armed Forces, including those which they brought themselves across the Polish-Ukrainian border. This method of delivery is called “ant” and requires a lot of time and volunteers to deliver a significant number.

On March 29, volunteers organized a large shipment of bullet-proof vests of the highest standard – Category 4 (NATO). However, the Polish Border Guard and Customs Service detained this humanitarian aid consisting of 42 bullet-proof vests. The reason was the lack of a licence for the supply of such equipment.

At that time, the Foundation considered bullet-proof vests protective equipment. Subsequently, to the shipment of bullet-proof vests, 116 helmets were added and brought by other volunteers. The protective gear was purchased legally with money of volunteers collected with permission of the Polish government.

According to Polish journalists, on Tuesday, July 22, Deputy Attorney of the city Zamost, who is charge of the case, changed the status of Roman Kushnir, Andrij Havunko and more than a dozen volunteers from the Foundation from that of witnesses to that of accused.

Currently, the detained the driver and volunteers involved could face up to 10 years in prison for violation of customs legislation, and the equipment could be destroyed.

“To solve the problem and to free Roman and Andrij, confirmation of the intended purpose of these bullet-proof vests from the Ukrainian government is required. Currently, we are awaiting a letter from the Government of Ukraine that the specified bullet-proof vests is charity, not subject to sale, and will be donated free of charge to units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” reported the Foundation.

Euromaidan Press Comment: It seems as if double standards exist within the EU.  Volunteers can get 10 years in prison in Poland, an EU country, for supplying bullet-proof vests for the Ukrainian army. Ukraine is a victim of an undeclared war from the Russian side. But France, another EU member state, can supply Mistrals ships to the aggressor, Russia, and no one is in jail for this.

Last month, Ukraine asked the United States and NATO for sensitive equipment to jam the radars that Russian anti-aircraft systems use to lock their missiles on planes. The US and NATO refused. If Ukraine had been provided with these systems, possibly the people on flight MH17 might still be alive.

Source: Ukraiynska Pravda (Ukrainian)


Translated by Olena Wawryshyn, with Dmytro Usenko, student at Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Dear readers! Since you’ ve made it to this point, we have a favor to ask. Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine is ongoing, but major news agencies have gone away, which is why it's extra important to provide news about Ukraine in English. We are a small independent journalist team on a shoestring budget, have no political or state affiliation, and depend on our readers to keep going (using the chanсe - a big thank you to our generous supporters, we couldn't make it without you.)  If you like what you see, please help keep us online with a donation

Tags: , ,


  1. Avatar llewellynh says:

    Some very bad laws were written that obviously weren’t thought through by the desk soldiers in Brussels and elsewhere. I understand the thrust of it but do think lawmakers would be wise to revisit something like this to add an option for a judge to waive any penalties. Based on what we have been seeing these past few days, that Judge should probably come from the Netherlands.

    1. Avatar Adam Rytwiński says:

      Dear Ilewellynh, these are not bad laws, this is just a legal law of Poland, same is in all EU countries. The situation with Ukraine is a specific one, but the law has to work within specific and standard situations. The construction of the law has to secure us against the terrorism. We know Ukraine is okay and the country we have to support, this is why we work on the issue know. We in Poland feel really sorry for the halted guys.

      1. Avatar llewellynh says:

        I understand what you are saying and it is a problem whenever people write laws. I think when there is no option for a waiver in a law like this to accommodate special situations, it is sort of a bad law but I don’t use that word in the sense of evil but rather of sloppy work.

        We have the same problem here as any group does when they sit down to make rules. Yes, we do need them in place very obviously but to me it’s a good idea to anticipate that exceptional issues may well arise and instead of threatening people with prison for doing a kind act, an upfront judicial exclusion should be made part of the law.

        1. Avatar Adam Rytwiński says:

          Oh no, I didn’t take your post as an offense, I just wanted to explain the situation as I felt sorry for all this and wanted to excuse our authorities 🙂

          1. Avatar llewellynh says:

            Our news media has a wonderful time capturing some of the poorest decisions ever made by civil servants and I do see that often their hands, in their minds any way, are tied. So they follow every letter of the law and in the process create chaos or often worse! It’s a universal problem.

    2. Avatar sandy miller says:


      1. Avatar llewellynh says:

        I am as unhappy with the politicians as you are but I do see the Netherlands which has a history that is a bit unique, could just be given more of a say. And no where is it written that politicians can’t be made to change their minds: it’s up to all of us to put the pressure on in any way possible. Collectively they look now like a bunch of moral failures.

  2. Avatar Adam Rytwiński says:

    As far as I know, our Polish authorities work on it, they want to solve this problem and free those guys. However, Poland is lawfull country and all state officials and organisations have to work accordingly. We are trying now to find a legal solution.

    There is no restriction, that one person can carry through the border one helmet and one bullet-proof vest. Theese guys had more and they had broken the legal law of Poland. Of course, we understand the situation, this is why we want to help Ukrainians and work on mentioned solution.
    I’m almost sure, that everything will be okay, and halted guys will be released, equipment delivered to Ukraine.

    We are sorry for temporary inconveniences, but please understand, we have to keep to our legal law, so it takes time. We support Ukraine officially and privately, there is no other country in Europe like Poland in supporting brave Ukraine in it’s efforts.
    Good luck Ukraine!

    1. Avatar PoeTentiate says:

      If Poland and NATO does not support Ukraine now, in 10 years their border with Ukraine will be a border with Russia again, and Ukraine will again be turned into a vast killing field and Gulag. It’s that serious. Russia will be invading in full force again, after they find the correct manufactured provocation to dissuade the Americans from preventing it.

      1. Avatar Adam Rytwiński says:

        I agree with you, we know it Poe very well. The problem is, we have to clear it to some of our Western partners.

      2. Avatar Vitalii Usenko says:

        There was case from history when West betrayed Poland in 1939. Euromaidan Press covered this briefly in the article “Who started World War II and who could start World War III?” After so called “phoney war” when Western countries just observed how Hitler and Stalin destroyed Poland,
        came 1940 – 1941 when all Europa was dominated by Hitler. It is not good if
        West to do the same with Ukraine in 2014 as Putin if he will not stopped in Ukraine will go further. Putin is threat not only for Ukraine.

      3. Avatar Vitalii Usenko says:

        Fully agree Poe with your points. Russia gas expansionist ideology. Euromaidan Press covered briefly this topic in the article “New “old” Russian imperialism and hybrid wars – an historical overview”.

    2. Avatar miszcz says:

      I`m sorry Adam but what you say is complete bollocks. Poland is a banana republic with no law at all, pretty much like Ukraine (I assume?) during Yanukovich rule, the only difference is Poles have no guts to fight with corrupt and demoralised government like Ukrainians do. Polish government did absolutely NOTHING so far to actually help Ukraine, and now authorities are even stopping those who want to help them on their own. I am outraged by this, just as Poland was alone in 1939 now Ukraine is also alone set against a monster neighbor with nothing but nice words from the west.

      Law is no excuse in as situation like this, in Poland law is constantly overrided by the powerful, also law can be interpreted in different ways – something that many people forget. Our ruling party controls everything in Poland now and one phone call from prime minister could have solved it at once.

      Also bear in mind I`m Polish.

      1. Avatar On the Balcony says:

        An acquaintance who works for FR customs told me that he didn’t like workng with Polish businesses because he couldn’t make any money from them (i.e. they won’t pay bribes) EVERY country has corruption just like every dog has fleas – it’s when the fleas scratch the dog instead of the dog scratching the fleas that you have a problem.)

      2. Avatar Adam Rytwiński says:

        You say you are Polish… I doubt, because what you have written (about the phone call) describes situation maybe in Belarus. Maybe in Russia or North Korea, but not in Poland. Or maybe you live out of Poland for over 20 years 😉

        It’s even not worth to comment what you have written…

        Here is the proof how wrong were you:



        1. Avatar miszcz says:

          No, I’m actually a north korean agent writing from Pyongyang paid to make a bad PR for the glorious leader Tusk.

          About the phone call – do i have to remind the story of the judge Milewski? I wont bore our foreign friends about the story, but i believe you remember it. Or the story of Olewnik kidnapping. Or the latest

          wiretapping tapes, or the hazard affair, or the killing of Papala, or the story of Kwasniewski`s villa, etc. I wonder if Tusk has an estate like Yanukovich had hidden somewhere with a galleon on a lake.

          1. Avatar Adam Rytwiński says:

            Milewski – it was journalist action, not real.
            Olewnik – case not clear till today
            Tapes – nothing to do with what you have written, even opposite
            Gambling (hazard in Polish is not “hazard” in English, it means more or less “szkoda” in Polish – maybe you should learn little bit more English language, or better go to Polish language forums) – case cleared, lots of noise and nothing more
            Papala – case not clear till today, so nothing to comment
            Kwaśniewski villa – total hoax
            All the examples you have given show, that democracy and legal law standards in Poland are working every year better. Most of the cases are over 10 years old, they have nothing to do with today’s situation.
            I didn’t write you are an agent from N. Korea, there was only a suggest that maybe you are for long time out of Poland. A lot has changed within the last years. Some people, mostly fans of Kaczyński and Maciarewicz still belive in crazy teories, but they are so old… 😉

  3. Avatar Milton Devonair says:

    The world cannot wait until Ukraine is finally free of russia, so there can be greater cooperation between Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltic countries. Hopefully, one day Belarus will also become a free and democratic nation, free of the boot of putin’s russia.

    It will be a great day for the world.

  4. Avatar sandy miller says:


    1. Avatar Marek says:

      Sandy, stop shouting with BIG LETTERS and start reading. Adam above explained in simple words what the problem is. I also hope that Polish authorities will handle that properly.

      1. Avatar Adam Rytwiński says:

        Dzięki Marek 🙂

  5. Avatar Dave Kinary says:

    I wish i could help do more for Ukraine.Unfortunatley I am not a wealthy person.I was thinking of buying one of the “Donbass” t-shirts from this site but I am concerned weather the money really goes to the Ukraine Armed Forces or some scammer.Does anyone know if this “Donbass” T shirt sale is legtimate or not?

    1. Avatar Mat says:

      Hi Dave,

      Unrelated to the shirts, direct donations to the battalion can be made via PayPal to [email protected]

      Their facebook is here which verified that that paypal account is real if you wanted to send a small amount that would go entirely to them.

      The shirts are from a sponsor and not from this site. It isn’t a scammer, a portion does go to the unit, but if you want peace of mind you can do the above.

      1. Avatar Darius Aleksas says:

        thank you for the info.

      2. Avatar Dave Kinary says:

        ok thanks for the answer.I wish I had alot of money and could send it to them.But I dont.What Id really like to do is volunteer and help them fight,but Texas is really far from Ukraine.Instead I read and post comments in support of a Free Ukraine and try to pressure the US Govt. to send military aid to them.

      3. Avatar Dave Kinary says:

        ok thanks for the answer.I wish I had alot of money and could send it to them.But I dont.What Id really like to do is volunteer and help them fight,but Texas is really far from Ukraine.Instead I read and post comments in support of a Free Ukraine and try to pressure the US Govt. to send military aid to them.