Brave man evacuates over 80 Ukrainian civilians using a London black cab

By Monica Athnasious

Published Mar 9, 2022 at 10:57 AM

Reading time: 2 minutes

Adding to the list of individual acts of incredible bravery and dedication, in response to the ongoing tragedies triggered by the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, comes another. One heroic British-Ukrainian man has helped rescue dozens of the most vulnerable Ukrainians fleeing the conflict—including the disabled elderly, pregnant women and even a newborn baby—in none other than a London black cab.

Brave man evacuates over 80 Ukrainian civilians using a London black cab

Roman Tymchyshyn, 31, began his efforts on 28 February and has since rescued around 80 people, transporting them across the Polish border in his black cab—clocking over 2,800 miles so far in the taxi while travelling up to 300 miles per day. Tymchyshyn, who resides in Portadown, Northern Ireland, originally heralds from Lviv in Western Ukraine and decided to make the trip back to his birth country when the war broke out to help in any way he could.

The 31-year-old software engineer took a month off work to aid in the transportation of people escaping the crisis with his wife, Ulyana Vovk. Tymchyshyn told the PA news agency, “My employer is very generous and has allowed me one month’s paid leave so I relocated to Ukraine mainly to help people evacuate.”

Brave man evacuates over 80 Ukrainian civilians using a London black cab
Brave man evacuates over 80 Ukrainian civilians using a London black cab

“Until they cross the border or reach their final destination, the passengers feel frightened but they are sometimes more relaxed when they are gathered together with different families as I form groups of random people,” he continued, “They discuss their stories and cry together about the losses or talk about their family members who have been split up.”

The classic car enthusiast described his black cab as “comfortable and spacious” enough to help transport those who are disabled and carry up to six passengers. “I do all of that currently using my London taxi daily (as [an] owner of [a] few classic cars) this car has access for disabled people but no good for injured people (no room and not fast enough),” the software engineer wrote on his fundraising campaign for a new vehicle.

Brave man evacuates over 80 Ukrainian civilians using a London black cab

“When you see things like this happening on your TV screen it’s one thing but when you experience it in person, it’s heart-breaking,” he continued, “Very old people are scared of the bombing and airplanes as some of them experienced World War Two… most of them don’t talk but pray while I’m driving for two hours.” 

The driver, along with his sister Mariya, have also set up a fundraising campaign to raise money for a larger vehicle to help transport displaced people. “With my local Ukrainian/volunteer community we decided to raise some money for 4×4 SUV which we can use on the battlefield (to be driven by someone else not myself personally) to evacuate injured civilians. Used cars in the UK are more affordable and we have a green light at [the] Polish/Ukrainian border who can let us in without paying any taxes and duties (humanitarian help),” he wrote on the fundraising page.

If you wish to contribute and help their cause get their target of £8,000, you can donate here. Tymchyshyn also promises to share reports and photographic evidence of this progress.

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