'I've never done anything like this before' - Kent convoy to head to Ukraine with vital supplies

ITV Meridian's Tom Savvides reports.

A car mechanic from Tonbridge has organised a convoy of vehicles to take doctors and paramedics to Ukraine, as the situation there continues to escalate.

Arthur Smith, from the town, has bought an old coach, which he is currently preparing ahead of a planned trip this weekend.

As it is heading to a warzone the vehicle has to have a new livery applied, to make it clear to forces on both sides that it is on a humanitarian mission.

He's currently fundraising and working alongside other agencies in to organise the trip, which will take up to 60 people across Europe to Ukraine.

The company had a few spare vehicles, which Arthur says will be better used in Ukraine than here in the UK.

"We had a few spare vehicles and some drivers that had less to do in the next few weeks.

"So we decided to use those vehicles and the time that we had to go out and help where we could."

It will be the first time Arthur has entered an area of conflict.

"No, never... I have never done anything [been in a war zone] like this at all."

Arthur Smith.

More than 2,000 civilians have died since the invasion, Ukraine’s state emergency service said, although that figure has not been independently verified.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that more than 6,000 Russian troops have been killed so far, a claim that has not been independently verified.

As Russia intensifies its attack, people across Kent have come together to support the Ukrainian people.

Donation hubs have been set up in towns and cities, accepting necessary items such as clothes, blankets and toiletries.

One site, in Chatham, has been inundated with donations which will be sent to those in need.

Beata Bikowska, a volunteer at the site, said that there had been dozens of donations.

"As you can see it is a lot, and we have got clothes, blankets, toiletries and baby stuff.

"We even have a special box for animals."

Beata Bikowska.

Today, Russian paratroopers are reported to have landed in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city, while footage shows a university there has been badly damaged by a powerful blast.

As the invasion entered its seventh day, Ukrainian authorities reported that a Russian missile strike hit the Kharkiv National University and a nearby police station at about 8am.

According to the Ukrainian military, the aerial assault began just as air raid sirens were starting to sound in Kharkiv and the surrounding region.

The statement adds that the Russian troops attacked a regional military hospital, and that fighting is ongoing.

Four people are said to have been killed in Wednesday's attacks with several others injured.