An employee sorts parcels in a warehouse of the Nova Poshta courier company on the northern outskirts of the Ukrainian city of Lviv on Friday. AFP
There is war raging in Ukraine but the postmasters in the western city of Lviv promise to keep making deliveries.
Parcels may be rattled on roads pockmarked by shell blasts, delayed at sandbag checkpoints, and held static during overnight curfews pierced by wailing air raid sirens. But Volodymyr Shved and Anatoliy Goretsky - who manage the Nova Poshta courier company in Lviv - insist parcels will arrive at their destination.
"The only places we aren't working is where the bombs are falling, at the moment they're falling," said 39-year-old Shved. "When the alarms go off we stop, but when they are silent we go back to work."
Since Russia invaded Ukraine three weeks ago the pro-Western country has moved onto a war footing. Thousands of soldiers have been mobilised and cities have been fortified on the orders of President Volodymyr Zelensky, who addresses the nation in military fatigues.
Employees operate freight-pushing buggies to pile humanitarian aid at a warehouse in Lviv. AFP
The "home front" of Ukraine has also been transformed, as civilian life pivots to buttress the war effort and usher aid to refugees fleeing conflict zones. Lviv, which is located 70 kilometres from the border with Poland, was initially largely spared military strikes from Russian forces.
But the cavernous Nova Poshta warehouse on the northern outskirts has nevertheless been transformed by the demands of war. The workforce has slimmed by more than half.
Just 22 work here with most of the rest called up for combat. The hub once sorted one million parcels a day, mainly for online shoppers. Now the 100,000 daily parcels are mostly food, medicine and clothing - care packages criss-crossing conflict-riven Ukraine.
A cursory glance at rusted red cargo trolleys reveals pasta noodles and military boots nestled among anonymous cardboard packages. Ninety mechanised lines hurl them along a conveyor belt through a yawning red scanner, sorting them for onward travel. Shved said the only day this process paused was Feb.24 - when Russia invaded - as a grip of panic passed across Ukraine.
"Over the next few days we realised the company is one of the few that can keep people united," he said. "That's why we decided to regroup." Now the postal trucks are guided by a backroom team mapping "safe routes to pass aside warfare," he explained. They account for infrastructure hobbled by Russian airstrikes and Ukrainian checkpoints manned by twitchy recruits. Nova Poshta once made deliveries anywhere in Ukraine within 24 hours. Now it takes between four and six days.
"The 1.5 billion euros ($1.5 billion) was brought to the table today. It's money that will be used in 2022, this year and next year," Danish Defence Minister Morten said during a news conference.
“As the initiator and main instigator of the Ukrainian crisis, Washington, while imposing unprecedented comprehensive sanctions on Russia, continues to supply arms and military equipment to Ukraine,” Zhang was quoted as saying.
"Regrettably, instead of de-escalation, over the past several days there have been reports of further deeply worrying incidents that could, if they continue, lead to disaster," Antonio Guterres said in a statement.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday Moscow's military action in Ukraine was not responsible for the global food crisis, instead blaming the West for preventing the export of Russian grain.
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