Conservative MP Johnny Mercer said he was “determined” to keep the voices of the Ukrainian people “alive and bright”.
The former Veterans Affairs Minister and British Army officer traveled to the country’s capital, Kyiv, and other cities at the invitation of Ukrainian MPs, a trip featured in a Channel 4 Dispatches program to be aired April 3.
TV viewers will be taken to the front lines in Ukraine in the 30-minute film, which documents his time in the country as he met those who stayed to resist the Russian invasion, as well as those injured in the conflict.
He told PA News Agency: “I think you have to be there to see, really feel the fear and the tension.
“I thought it was an extremely dangerous place, I thought people at the checkpoints are understandably nervous.
“You are dealing with people who have been in the military, some of them only seven days, and have never fired a gun.
“It really goes to show how important it is for the world to see what’s going on, because as you know, I’ve been told, but I’ve told a lot of other people, it’s not just Ukraine that’s at war.
“They happen to be the frontline of what is a collision between our Western democratic values and (Vladimir) Putin’s tyranny, and Ukrainians are on the frontline and we should do absolutely everything to support them.”
The Plymouth Moor View MP was joined on his trip by TV explorer Levison Wood and director Neil Bonner, who followed him on his journey from Kraków to Lviv and on to the scene of the fighting in Kyiv so he could experience the realities of the war and offer support to his Ukrainian colleagues.
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“I think film is an incredibly powerful medium to tell these stories,” Mr Mercer said, adding: “This is their everyday life while we may be dealing with major crises at home, like the cost of living, the NHS and energy prices move on to Covid.
“It’s easy to forget the horrible existence of the people of Ukraine as we wake up and go to bed every day right now and I’m committed to keeping their voices alive and bright so we’re doing everything we can, to ensure their success in this conflict with Russia.”
Channel 4 hired BriteSpark Films to create the film in association with Wood’s production company Blackmane Media.
Mr Mercer said: “The film is about the people, the people that we wanted to portray and just remember them when you think of Ukraine and its existence.
“The MPs who help, the deputy prime minister who puts families on buses. The baker who was shot seven times by the Russians, the little boy who lost his father when the Russians tried to take Kyiv the first night and himself suffered eight gunshot wounds.
“Just remember these people and let’s see this through.”
Ukraine: On the Front Line with Johnny Mercer will air April 3 at 5:30 p.m. on Channel 4.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/mp-johnny-mercer-determined-to-keep-voice-of-ukrainians-alive-and-bright-41515290.html MP Johnny Mercer ‘determined’ to keep Ukrainians’ voice ‘vivid and bright’