Kent transport

Life on the frontline for surgeon Andy Kent who has returned to the Highlands after traveling to Ukraine to work with medical charity UK-Med where he witnessed Russian rocket attacks in Liev and Dnipro

Surgeon Andy Kent who is back in the Highlands after his trip to Ukraine.

An Inverness trauma and orthopedic surgeon witnessed first-hand two Russian rocket attacks at opposite ends of the same train journey.

Andy Kent, who is based at Raigmore Hospital, flew to Ukraine on his 58th birthday to work with the UK-Med charity for the second time since the war began.

The team was traveling to Dnipro and the trip took almost a day.

Mr Kent said the Russians were targeting railway lines and the first incident occurred on May 3.

He said they had taken the night train from Lviv, adding: “Just as we boarded the train, late in the evening, there were some missile fire at the station. There were two missiles that landed right next to the station.

Passengers watch smoke rising from a rocket attack in Lviv, Ukraine.
Passengers watch smoke rising from a rocket attack in Lviv, Ukraine.

“We were advised to stay on the train. We traveled overnight and it took us almost 24 hours to get from Lviv to Dnipro and just after we arrived there was another big missile strike so that was the two ends of our trip. I thought “maybe I should use another phone”.

Mr Kent said the railway lines were targeted because the trains were used to transport arms and weapons. He said, “They were trying to keep the guns out.”

“Over the years I’ve been in many similar situations and we knew most missile strikes were targeted, they were pretty precisely targeted so you’d be pretty unlucky unless you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. .”

He added that hospitals were also targeted by the Russians. He added: “I have to be careful not to divulge the site, but there was a hospital that was attacked, near Sumy, 30 km from the Russian border.

“Sumy was taken over and this hospital was targeted – this hospital was then non-functional, certainly the operating theaters, so UK-Med set up a surgical unit.

“The actual infrastructure was given by the UK government to UK-Med and then we put it in place.

“This area had been taken by the Russians during the conflict and they just shelled the hospital.”

During his time there, he treated a variety of injuries – mostly people who had lost limbs or suffered shrapnel damage.

He said: “We were operating, putting these binding frames on this soldier who was shot in the elbow with an AK47.

“So we had done all the soft tissue and fixed his elbow as best we could with what we had, and then put this frame on to keep everything solid.”

In addition to Mr Kent, other staff at Raigmore Hospital have worked with UK-Med in Ukraine.

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