Sad to be leaving Ukraine after nearly one month. I also met some of the men defending freedom against barbarism. Men I am proud to have met and look forward to meeting again.

Written in Odessa, 1 December. Sad to be leaving Ukraine after nearly one month, & not to be staying longer in Odessa. 3 weeks in Zaporizhzhia, two days in Odessa & in some other towns. The Ukrainian border guards & security services were polite, professional & very attentive. No imposters will pass here. I met in Odessa election observer mission colleagues & friends from 2015. And new friends, Ukrainian and foreign volunteers fighting for Ukraine, freedom & democracy. From America, Britain, Germany, Poland. A great bunch of men, highly professional, modest and fun. A privilege to be invited to spend time with such good people. I will be happy to tell families in Grimsby and Middlesbrough that their guys are ok (& Chicago, Kansas & Texas). For Ukraine’s victory.

Reposted here, from Bucharest, 3 December.

Postscript. Leaving Ukraine and Moldova turned out to be a lot harder than entering had been. Very thorough checks and long delays at each point. Having crossed so many borders in the last year I think I am quite an expert on border traffic management now. I will write more opinion on that anon. I remain very sorry for the lorry drivers stuck in a 8km queue to get from Moldova to Romania. As I crossed from Moldova into Romania, so the boundary of the old Soviet Union / Russian Empire the border policeman asked “You were in Ukraine. Did you have business in Ukraine?” I said, no I am a volunteer University professor and I was visiting friends. He said “I understand”. Finally, after a month, with the exception of my friends in Zaporizhzia and the volunteer soldiers who thought wanting to go to and being in Ukraine was normal, the first person who seemed to understand me was a Romanian border police officer :-).

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