Nova Scotia

Fisherman from N.S. witnesses heavy damage as he delivers aid in Ukraine

A Nova Scotia fisherman has arrived in Ukraine to help deliver aid to his homeland during the Russian assault on the country. 

Lex Brukovskiy runs a fishing boat in Nova Scotia, but returned to Ukraine to deliver help

Lex Brukovskiy speaks on the phone in Nova Scotia before travelling to Ukraine to deliver help. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

A Nova Scotia fisherman has arrived in Ukraine to help deliver aid to his homeland during the Russian assault on the country. 

Lex Brukovskiy has a family and lobster-fishing business in Meteghan, N.S., but comes from the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, where his mother still lives. 

He raised money in Nova Scotia earlier this month and is now volunteering to deliver aid to people. 

"Last trip, for example, we delivered medications to Kharkiv and picked up one wounded soldier and a couple of women and children. They also wanted us to load some dogs and cats, but we ran out of room," he told CBC's Information Morning Monday from his truck during a roadside stop in Ukraine. 

"It's dangerous because you don't know what to expect or when to expect it. The wounded soldier I drove yesterday, he told me that these volunteer jobs are more dangerous than working in the front lines of the army because we've got no weapons or anything like that."

Empty roads heading into Ukraine

He thanked those in Nova Scotia who donated to the relief effort. Brukovskiy flew to Poland and took a bus to Ukraine. 

"The roads were empty and the bus was empty so it wasn't too hard to get into the country," he said. "It's a lot harder getting out of the country."

He's based in Lviv, where air-raid alarms go off every few hours, often followed by Russian fighter jets, sending everyone to the bomb shelters. He and his team gather supplies, then get a text about where to take them. He puts it into his GPS and delivers the goods. 

"Right now we're getting geared up to go to Kyiv for tomorrow morning," he said. 

Rescuers work at the site of the National Academy of State Administration building damaged by shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Friday. (Andrew Marienko/Associated Press)

He said when entering a place with active fighting, like Kyiv and Kharkiv, people are stopped at checkpoints and might be offered a military escort to deliver the goods.

"You just kind of look around and where you see black smoke, you drive the other way."

They're also trying to find a way to armour their vans and trucks with steel plates to block shrapnel and bullets. The further east he goes, the more damage he sees.

"I passed over the city of Zhytomyr yesterday and I saw houses destroyed where a rocket missed the target. I think they were targeting a military base and the rocket either overshot it or undershot it and just landed on houses," he said. "The further east you go, the scarier it looks."

Lex Brukovskiy is a Ukrainian-Canadian lobster fisherman who lives in Meteghan. He is currently based in Lviv, Ukraine, where he is delivering aid. That's where Information Morning's Jerry West reached him, in a truck on the side of the road.

He said he's glad to be there helping and plans to stay "as long as it takes."

"I feel better being here than I did being home a few weeks ago." he said.

He has no plans to return to Canada right now, but hopes the war will end by the fall and he'll be able to fly back to Nova Scotia.