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

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

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

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