Royal Navy icebreaker ship supports Ukrainian Antarctic scientists

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The crew of the Royal Navy icebreaker have offered “support and solidarity” to Ukrainian scientists in Antarctica.

HMS Protector, based in Plymouth, visited the Vernadsky polar research station, staffed by 21 scientists from the war-torn country.

The naval crew delivering food and supplies described hearing how the Ukrainians had families trapped by the Russian invasion.

Captain Michael Wood of HMS Protector said: “During the time on shore, the team confirmed the well-being of the 21 scientists who spent the winter at Vernadsky.

The ship on Galindez Island in the South Atlantic (MoD/PA)

“Fresh groceries were handed over to the ward manager as a welcome.

“Many station staff reported families being attacked in Kharkiv and Kyiv.”

The Ukrainian research base is located on Galindez Island off the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.

It was originally established as the British Antarctic Survey Faraday Station but was relocated to Ukraine in early 1996 as part of a Memorandum of Understanding between the British Antarctic Survey and the National Antarctic Scientific Center of Ukraine.

Ukrainian scientists conduct research into the Earth’s magnetic field, radio sounding of the ionosphere in the southern polar region, hydrometeorological research and geophysical research into the lithosphere – the Earth’s crust and upper part of the mantle.

They also study the ecology of the West Antarctic biosphere and the medical implications of living and working in the continent’s extreme environment.

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