Donations are being collected to help support Ukrainians caught in the crossfire

A prayer vigil and donation drive was held at the Luton branch of the Ukrainian Association in Great Britain on Sunday.

As the Russian invasion intensified, Luton Ukrainians and members of the wider community joined together to pray for peace.

The event raised an impressive £2,700 to support victims of the conflict.

In a voice that cracked with emotion, Chairman Mykhaylo Ohal thanked attendees for their generosity.

“We’ve had lots of donations, phone calls, people saying ‘how can we help?’ We really appreciate it from everyone. We feel like the whole world is supporting us.”

Luton South MP Rachel Hopkins was among those attending alongside Luton North MP Sarah Owen and town councillor Abbas Hussain.

She said: “[Ukrainians] are a part of our community. We stand with you.”

Over 600,000 refugees have now fled Ukraine, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

But many more are thought to remain stranded, uprooted from their homes by the damages of war.

Some refugees waited for up to 60 hours to cross the border into Poland, in queues reaching up to 15km in length.

Emergency service volunteers receive refugees in Isaccea, Romania.
Photograph: Andreea Câmpeanu/Getty Images

What can I do to help?

You can make a donation to the collection point at the branch’s headquarters at 16 Cromwell Hill, Luton.

Medication and first aid supplies are among the most urgently needed items, along with food, warm clothing, sleeping bags, torches and batteries.

Alternatively, you can make a monetary donation on the AUGB’s GoFundMe page here.