The first batch containing 6 tons of glazed units and sheets for window glazing from Vilnius reached Kyiv suburb Borodyanka yesterday – the city residents and companies answered to the call of Mayor Remigijus Šimašius and collected these items in three weeks.
“The sheets that we do not need anymore and that are abundant in Vilnius after the reconstructions are not of great value for us, but they will help at least minimally to restore elementary living conditions for the Ukrainians, whose windows were broken by the Russian bombs, – said R. Šimašius. – This idea has been taken over by other Baltic and Scandinavian capitals, and I believe, by other cities, as well. The next step is bigger help in restoring of the Ukrainian cities, where more serious input will be needed. First of all, we will be able to share our experience, how to transform the soviet cities into the Western.”
The glass was carried to Borodyanka by three minivans. Its mayor asked for the help from Lithuania last month. Vilnius is grateful to Vilnius residents, who brought their windows of good quality left after repair works, and to the Lithuanian Real Estate Development Association, the Lithuanian Construction Association, Public institution “Atnaujinkime miestą” (en. Let’s renew the city), companies from Vilnius, Panevėžys, Kaišiadorys: “Aliuminio fasadai”, “Aldasa”, “Alža”, and “Roda”, that have contributed to the initiative and help to Ukraine.
According to the calculations, the quantity of glass brought to the large waste collection site of Vilnius District Waste Management Centre and the stations of things exchange Dėk’ui (en. Thanks) in the first stage is sufficient to glaze approx. 300 windows broken during the attacks of the aggressor – when the residential boroughs were fired at. The windows sent for glazing were marked with stickers “Вільнюс <3 Україну”.
The cargo was accompanied and transferred to the administration of Kyiv suburb Borodyanka by Vilnius Deputy Mayor Tomas Gulbinas and Leader of the Group of Advisors to the Mayor, Ieva Dirmaitė. The carriage of support donated by Vilnius residents was also escorted by businessman Karolis Sankauskas. They were also accompanied by seven Ukrainian women, who decided to return to their homeland. One of them, a pregnant woman, decided to return alone to her relatives to unsafe Kherson.
The Vilnius team was received by Kyiv Mayor, Vitali Klitschko.
“Kyiv Mayor stated the city’s priorities very clearly, – commented Vilnius Deputy Mayor T. Gulbinas. – First of all, to do everything to win the war. Secondly, to create opportunities for the city residents to return, i.e., to secure housing (approx. 200 blocks of flats have been destroyed), to restore businesses with work places, and to take care about education of the returning children (36 city schools were destroyed). The last aim has a very definite time frame – the beginning of a new school year, so we promised Lithuania help to achieve it.”
According to I. Dirmaitė, if sirens were not hooting several times per day, soldiers were not patrolling on the streets, if there were not any block posts and strict curfew, one could think that Kyiv is back to the ordinary life as it was before the war.
“However, the silence is much heavier in the suburbs we have visited (Irpin, Bucha, Borodyanka) – there are hundreds of destroyed buildings, houses and infrastructure levelled to the ground by artillery, sad and shocking personal stories of survivors. The majority of people find it the most important to bury their killed relatives at last,” – said the advisor to Vilnius Mayor.
She was also at Kyiv Mayor with R. Šimašius one day before Russia started the war.
“At that time, V. Klitschko thanked for our moral help first of all, as the threat of the aggressor’s attack was growing every day; however, we also discussed further cooperation of our partner capitals. This time, Kyiv Mayor stressed that the most important thing is to defend themselves, and thus, guns are needed. The war continues and it is necessary to be ready for a marathon,”– said I. Dirmaitė.
The project will continue
Vilnius City is going to continue cooperation with Vilnius District Waste Management Centre and to continue collecting complete glass sheets and glazed units. Check your boxrooms, granges, garages – maybe you have some sheets or glazed units left after repair works, or maybe you are going to replace windows in the near future. We have an opportunity to do a good job instead of stockpiling, and such things are rarely used – ask your neighbours, who have vacated the portable metal garages. More information about collection sites is available at https://bit.ly/3Prw65N
The centre of support collection for Ukraine on the ground floor of Vilnius City administration is also continuing its work – your donations will be taken to the country frazzled by the aggressor together and separately from glass batches.