Ukraine crisis: Airth landscape gardener who drove in to help people escape, shot dead by Russian soldiers


Joe McCarthy of Ready2Rock Landscaping, captured his incredible and dangerous journey in a series of videos posted on social media platform TikTok.

Joe, 55, from Airth, traveled to Ukraine with his friend and colleague Gary Taylor, 45, from Bonnyrigg to rescue people who wanted to leave but had no transport.

They have already completed two “missions” to help people get to safety across the border with Poland and Romania – but have encountered some scary moments with the Russian military.

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They were shot and the tires of their vehicle were shot.

Joe’s phone was also taken with food, but they pledged to continue their mission.

Residents helped get their vehicle back on the road and also drove them to the city of Sumy in northeastern Ukraine.

In a TikTok update, Joe said, “They took us through a side road which was amazing.

We couldn’t have asked for anything else. »

Joe filmed a recent update to a family’s bunker as they took refuge.

He said: “No matter what we’ve been through, they go through it every day – I really don’t know what to say.”

They were also in Odessa when the city became a target and the sirens went off.

They stayed with a family in their bunker before getting them across the border safely.

Other videos showed them pulling people to safety as part of a convoy.

The duo have helped people in Romania before, and an online crowdfunder set up to support them has now raised over £20,000 and donations keep coming in.

On the GoFundMe page, Joe explained why he decided to go.

“After watching the news all day on Thursday, I decided I had to go and help people who were stranded or had to walk to the border because they don’t have transport.

“Gary, who works with me, has agreed to come too. We have emptied the van, carpeted the back and have sleeping bags and duvets to keep people warm.

“We will be collecting food and water as we get closer. Any donations to help us in our mission will be greatly appreciated.”

The reality of their situation has since been documented online, with Joe’s wife Fiona keeping people informed after his phone was stolen.

When they arrived in Sumy, she said: “All the roads were blocked, so they managed to bring in a police escort, but they are now stuck behind a large convoy of army vehicles, so it will run a little while before they join the families they’re picking up, then probably the same thing trying to get back.

But later, she had to report: “They had to turn back. The Russian army fired on them as a warning and told them to turn back. Unfortunately, they will not be able to join the families. I’m afraid they couldn’t get them back.

“I think they are safe at the moment but there are troops and Russian army troops walking past them. Please pray for them.”

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