Ukraine war: Lithuanians turn used car parts into stoves to help warm Ukrainians

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By Euronews, AFP
A worker of Lithuanian metal processing company 'Kalvis' welds old wheel rims to create heating stoves for Ukrainian civilians and soldiers in Siauliai, Lithuania.
A worker of Lithuanian metal processing company 'Kalvis' welds old wheel rims to create heating stoves for Ukrainian civilians and soldiers in Siauliai, Lithuania.   -   Copyright  PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP

A Lithuanian company is turning used car parts into stoves in a drive to try and help Ukrainians facing freezing temperatures and energy blackouts. 

Once a week, a few dozen Kalvis' employees -- one of the largest metal processing companies in the Baltic country -- gather in the firm's workshop to turn old wheel rims into small stoves that will be ultimately shipped to Ukraine.

The war and Russia's bombing of Ukraine's energy infrastructure in recent weeks have sparked fears Ukrainians will be forced to freeze or flee this winter.

Each stove, which includes two chambers for firewood and ash, is made of three rims stacked on top of each other and is supported by metal legs. According to craftsman and project co-author Rokas Utakis, the stove can also be used as a dryer or a heater, depending on necessity.

Utakis said that craftsmen have been staying overtime to work on the project, and have been joined by residents happy to lend a hand and help Ukrainians.

"It's nice to work with such an enthusiastic group of people," Utakis said. "The emotions [...] of people enjoying the stoves make up for the fatigue you experience making them."

PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP
the Lithuanian metal processing company has been turning used car parts into small stoves to keep war-torn Ukraine warm.PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP

The stove will allow Ukrainians, both in the cities and on the frontline, to dry their clothes, warm up their hands and make tea -- even if they're suddenly cut off from the country's power grid.

Kalvis has already produced nearly 100 stoves, half of which have already been sent to Ukraine in places like Bakhmut and Izium. Some 20 stoves were sent to a military unit which sent a thank-you letter back to the company, according to LRT.

The initiative has rapidly spread, with Lithuanians sending their old wheel rims to the company to help make more stoves and collection points being set up all over the country. The mayor of Šiauliai, the northern city where Kalvis is headquartered, visited the workshop to give his blessing to the project.

Lithuania, together with the other two Baltic states, has harshly condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine and has been at the forefront of calls to hold Moscow accountable for violating the neighbouring country's sovereignty.