In the press

Please find selected pieces of press coverage of our work over the last year.

Sunflower Scotland regularly features is in the British national press and provides commentary on the national radio

Sunflower Scotland distributing food aid in Slov'yans'k, Donbas, Ukraine February 2023
The Scotsman newspaper logo

Jane Bradley, 20th Apr 2024

War in Ukraine: The Scottish charity helping war veterans in mining town where one in 30 people have lost limb

Oleg Dmitriev, from Edinburgh, has become a patron of the new rehabilitation centre through his charity, Sunflower Scotland

In the Ukrainian mining town of Pershotravensk, 25 miles from the Donbas front, there are more than 1,000 people who have recently become amputees or are recovering from another life-changing injury. It is around one in 30 of the population.

“While those in big cities – Kyiv, Dnipro, Kharkiv – receive medical support, those in small towns and villages are left behind,” said Oleg Dmitriev, director of Scottish charity Sunflower Scotland, which has stepped in to help create a rehabilitation centre in the community.

The Scottish Sun logo

Harry Williamson, 4th Mar 2024

Scots charity workers say ‘death was everywhere’ during aid visits to Ukrainian frontlines

Two Scots charity workers told how “death was everywhere” as they visited the frontlines of the Ukraine war.

The Edinburgh couple’s work was featured in a new documentary, Sunflowers in the Rain, by American filmmaker Aaron MacCarley, which premiered in the capital on the second anniversary of the war.

…He told The Scottish Sun how he travelled from Kupyansk to Izium, which is dangerously close to the frontlines and has been dubbed, the “road to hell.”

Oleg said: “The road to hell is the most striking example of the horrors happening in Ukraine.

“Death was everywhere along the route.  We saw hundreds of homes destroyed in the most horrible way in every village we went to.  Sometimes it got too much and I broke down.”

He told of the horrors when the visited the village of Borova on the eastern side of the Oskil river, which had been “obliterated” by Russian shelling.

The Scotsman newspaper logo

Jane Bradley, 24th Feb 2024

Russian invasion of Ukraine: Work of Scottish charity in eastern Ukraine captured in documentary to be premiered in Edinburgh

Oleg Dmitriev, from Edinburgh, is featured in a documentary filmed on the front line of the war in Ukraine.

The work of Mr Dmitriev’s charity, Sunflower Scotland, is included in US filmmaker Aaron MacCarley’s documentary, Sunflowers in the Rain, among stories of other volunteers and residents living in cities, towns and villages close to the front line of the war, which began two years ago on Saturday.

“The film is really great because it tells not just the front line reporting, but it reminds everyone of the suffering of the ordinary people. It shows what we, the simple people, can do to help them.”

He adds: “Aaron is a very brave man. He went into the meat grinder himself, he saw it all. He did not shy from going to dangerous places.”

The National Logo

US filmmaker brings documentary to Scotland on eve of war’s second anniversary

An American film director is set to host the European premiere of their new documentary on Ukraine in Edinburgh.

Aaron MacCarley, an American film director from Los Angeles has produced a full-length cinematic documentary – Sunflowers in the Rain – after staying in Ukraine for a year.

The premiere will take place on Friday, February 23 in Edinburgh’s city chambers on the eve of the second anniversary of the war.

Oleg Dmitriev, the chairman of Sunflower Scotland told The National: “This film shows that volunteers helping in Ukraine are ordinary people, and that each and every one of us can make a difference. 

“Aaron risked his life together with volunteers and he has earned our highest respect.”

The Independent Newspaper logo

Death was everywhere: Edinburgh man delivers aid to frontline Ukrainian villages

An Edinburgh charity founder who has personally delivered aid to “decimated” frontline villages in Ukraine and helped thousands of civilians has urged Britons to continue to care for ordinary people impacted by war in the country.

Oleg Dmitriev, 43, told the PA news agency he was compelled by the “feeling of injustice and the catastrophe” to start helping deliver aid to Ukraine two weeks after Russia’s full-scale invasion began on February 24 2022.

Since then he has established his own charity, Sunflower Scotland, which has helped more than 11,700 people in Ukraine’s frontline villages, people in liberated areas and hospitals.

Daily Record logo

Ukraine charity founder from Edinburgh urges Scots to continue care two years after invasion

Oleg Dmitriev, compelled by the ‘feeling of injustice and the catastrophe’, started helping deliver aid to Ukraine two weeks after Russia’s invasion began two years ago.

Edinburgh Evening News logo

Sunflower Scotland – helping alleviate Ukrainian suffering: Steve Cardownie

Oleg informed me that the charity has so far delivered over 5000 aid parcels and helped 11,000 people in the frontline regions of Kharkiv, Kherson and Donbas. They also helped 1087 children, including many that had been orphaned and many with disabilities.

The organisation undertakes four key activities to help Ukraine: Delivering Ukraine-made aid to villages and towns within 20 miles of the front line, where people face the toughest struggles and as resources are severely limited particularly in these areas they are earmarked as a priority for humanitarian aid.

(link to the article by Steve Cardownie)

The Edinburgh Reporter logo

Help Ukraine – stop sending food and clothes

Edinburgh-based Scot, Oleg Dmitriev, is a member of the Sunflower Scotland movement and he has family in Ukraine.

Earlier this year the charity began by loading trucks of humanitarian aid and taking these right into the centre of Ukrainian cities, but now he warns that donating food and clothing to Ukrainians is hurting their economy – and it must stop.

The BBC Logo 2021

Ukrainian War: Scots send aid for the pets left behind

“An Edinburgh volunteer group has sent more than 110 tonnes of aid to Ukraine for the people and pets caught up in the conflict.

Sunflower Scotland has sent cat and dog food to shelters in Dnipro, to help the animals left behind by owners who were killed or forced to flee.”

The Edinburgh Reporter logo

Ukrainian girl smashes fundraising target in Edinburgh for Sunflower Scotland

“Ten year-old Maia Bombrys is flexing her entrepreneurial skills with fundraising efforts for Ukrainian aid charity, Sunflower Scotland, and has already broken her initial target of raising £1,000.”

The National Logo

The National: Edinburgh charity calls for delivery of aid to Ukraine to ‘speed up’

“Chair of Edinburgh-based charity Sunflower Scotland Oleg Dmitriev has said support is urgently needed to help civilians trapped in eastern Ukraine. 

He said vulnerable families may not survive the harsh winter without the necessary supplies. 

Dmitriev just returned to Scotland following an eight-day trip to delivering aid to towns and villages close to the front line of the Russian invasion.”

East Lothian Courier logo

Sunflower Scotland organises fundraiser for Ukraine

“10 Miles for Ukraine Walk is organised by Sunflower Scotland, a volunteer association sending aid directly to eastern Ukraine, into the red zone on the frontline in the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions.

Funds raised will provide lifesaving food, aid and emotional support to areas too dangerous to go to.”