Two people who had been working overseas to help deliver supplies collected in Edmonton for Ukraine have been killed, according to organizers in Alberta.
The delivery was part of the “United for Ukraine” supply effort, a donation push in Edmonton spearheaded by former premier Ed Stelmach and former MLA Thomas Lukaszuk.
“On the border in Poland, and throughout Ukraine, we have a network of groups and individual drivers who are unpacking our containers and our airplane load,” Lukaszuk told Global News on Saturday. “And then, subdividing it into smaller loads and delivering it in passenger vehicles and mini vans, in a very clandestine way to locations where the items are most needed.”
On Saturday, Lukaszuk said on Twitter that two of those drivers, believed to be Ukrainian and Polish nationals, were killed near Mariupol.
Lukaszuk said the medical and emergency supplies are of grave importance to those in Ukraine, and that the risks of delivering them were well known to the drivers.
“The Russian army is tracking these deliveries which are supporting Ukrainian soldiers and Ukrainian citizens,” Lukaszuk said.
“We understand that they have been intercepted, and killed just outside of Mariupol.
“These people are heroes.”
He said while the group is not planning on disclosing any more details about their delivery plans or where exactly the incident happened, they have “a number” of additional shipping containers leaving Alberta this week. The group had managed to collect 300 tonnes of goods worth over $20 million to send over.
Lukaszuk believes there will be no shortage of volunteers in the Ukraine region, despite this incident.
“I don’t believe that any of them will be in any way discouraged in carrying out this work. They are literally saving lives with every delivery,” he said.
“I know they will continue doing this. They know what risks they are facing and they are taking those risks knowingly — and I think that is exactly what makes them heroes.”