AN EDINBURGH based charity is calling for the delivery of aid to Ukraine to "speed up".

Chair of Edinburgh-based charity Sunflower Scotland Oleg Dmitriev has said support is urgently needed to help civilians trapped in eastern Ukraine. 

He said vulnerable families may not survive the harsh winter without the necessary supplies. 

Dmitriev just returned to Scotland following an eight-day trip to delivering aid to towns and villages close to the front line of the Russian invasion. 

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He worked with local volunteers to deliver food and other necessary supplies – including walking aids and baby items to hospitals.

Speaking on BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show, Dmitriev said: “Winter is rapidly approaching and aid efforts must now speed up instead of slowing down. 

“We need to get aid quickly to the people trapped in towns and villages that I visited, so that they have the supplies they need to survive the winter. 

“By the time we start seeing pictures of snow-covered fields on our television screens, it will be too late to help them because it will be much harder to drive to these places during the winter, especially if the Russians keep advancing.”

Dmitriev is set to return to eastern Ukraine later this month with another shipment of supplies. 

The charity has dispatched several articulated lorries with more than 100 tonnes of clothing, food and medical equipment. 

Dmitriev added: “I am scared for the people I met and how they will survive a bad winter. 

“Aid is being sent to refugees in the big cities, but not to those people who have been stranded in more remote towns and villages. They have been left in limbo.

“People have been living in bomb shelters for months. They are still living there now, but they’ve been forgotten about, and they need our help.”

During last month’s trip, Dmitriev packed a 4x4 full of essentials, from first aid kits and tourniquets for doctors to surplus boots and uniforms for soldiers. 

He told The Sunday Show he had “no idea” what to expect when he visited towns like Chuhuiv and Malinovka. 

He added: “People have stayed in these areas for many reasons. Some were afraid to leave, others had no means to leave, and then they delayed too long and were cut off by the Russian advance. 

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“Some are elderly people with no money to travel, while others have dogs, chickens, sheep or cows, and they won’t leave their animals to die. 

“People don’t think rationally in times of war and the stress of living under fire changes people.

“Ukrainians are resilient and optimistic, and I believe they have won the war morally. While Ukraine is fighting for its survival, it is our moral duty to support innocent people.”

Dmitriev fled Russia in 2012 after realising the direction the country was moving in and his wife Elvira Dmitriev has family in Ukraine.