‘You will receive your order on time’ Incredibly, the Ukrainian postal service is still operating

On the website of Ukrainian courier service Nova Poshta, an asterisked note has been added to information about its seven-day-a-week branch opening times.

“*If there is a curfew in the city, the branch opens an hour later and closes an hour earlier,” it states, apologetically. Its terms and conditions also assert the rights of couriers to “stop and enter a safe haven” if air raid sirens go off during a delivery.

This is the new wartime reality of the postal service in Ukraine, which is, incredibly, continuing to operate in many areas of the country, despite ongoing attacks from Russian forces. Curfews have been imposed and then lifted at various times in different cities as the authorities attempt to predict where Russian shelling is likely to be at its worst.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As well as private courier services like Nova Poshta, the national post service, Ukrposhta, is also running. People living in safer areas of the country are using the service to post aid to friends and family in locations where goods and medication is not so widely available.

"Buy goods online and choose delivery by Ukrposhta,” says the postal service website. “So far, almost all branches have resumed work, so you will receive your order on time.”

The company, whose chief executive, Igor Smelyansky, has been told he is on a Russian hit list due to the service’s high profile role in keeping Ukraine running, is also delivering cash pensions to more than 3 million elderly Ukrainians, as well as prescriptions and medication.

Online sales from e-commerce companies have also started up again, with firms such as Rozetka, Ukraine’s answer to Amazon, advertising delivery of cut price contact lenses, PlayStation games and mobile phones alongside advertisements for how to donate to the Ukrainian armed forces through the National Bank.

Shipping information apologises that due to the “situation in the country”, there are “significant difficulties with the processing and delivery of orders”, adding that it could take a few days from order to shipment.

Nova Poshta is a Ukrainian courier service.Nova Poshta is a Ukrainian courier service.
Nova Poshta is a Ukrainian courier service.

Nova Poshta said at the end of last month that although online orders had dropped to 20 times less than the level seen before the invasion at the beginning of the war, it was beginning to see a steady return to growth – of both online shopping deliveries and other parcels. The firm said that in the last week of March, Ukrainians ordered 200,000 goods online per day.

Daria Yakovenko had her ice skates shipped from the now-shuttered rink in her hometown of Kharkiv, to the west of Ukraine in just two days through Nova Poshta.

Ms Yakovenko, who is one of six Ukrainian adult figure skater who will travel to a competition in Germany next month following a fundraising campaign by an Edinburgh skater, had left her skates behind when she fled Kharkiv in the early days of the war. She is now living in Chernivtsi in the west of Ukraine.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Read More
Ukraine-Russia: Scots student given essay on Russian foreign policy, heads to Uk...
Daria Yakovenko's ice skates were sent from eastern Ukraine to the city of Chernivtsi in just two days.Daria Yakovenko's ice skates were sent from eastern Ukraine to the city of Chernivtsi in just two days.
Daria Yakovenko's ice skates were sent from eastern Ukraine to the city of Chernivtsi in just two days.

“I sent keys to my friend in Kharkiv,” she says. “Then I found some volunteers just by accident on social media, who agreed to go to the “hot” area of the city. This volunteer happened to be a policeman.”

The policeman got keys to the rink from Ms Yakovenko’s friend, found her ice skates and shipped them using Nova Poshta.

“My skates were delivered from Kharkiv on the very east of Ukraine to the very west part in Chernivtsi in two days,” she says. “We use this service very often in peaceful times as well. Mostly, people who need to get a delivery fast and securely use this service. Now they are working almost everywhere.”

She has also used the company to deliver aid to people in the areas hit hardest by the war.

"I have used them to send some aid and medicine for people and medicine even in small towns and villages in the Kharkiv region,” says Ms Yakovenko.

Separately, Nova Poshta has launched its own aid arm, Nova Poshta Humanitarian Project, to distribute aid and support for the armed forces around the country for free. Supported by British charity, the Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport, hundreds of tonnes of humanitarian aid has been delivered around the country, as well as equipment for fire fighters.

Journalist Shaun Walker praised the national post service for safely delivering his suitcase from the capital, Kyiv, to Lviv in just three days.

Posted alongside a picture of his shrink-wrapped and safely delivered suitcase, Mr Walker wrote on Twitter: “German UPS, which lost four out five parcels I sent with them, could learn a thing or two from Ukrainian Post, which despite the war is still operating and delivered my suitcase from Kyiv to Lviv in 36 hours for €5.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, in the Donetsk region, where Ukrainian authorities have warned people that they need to evacuate due to increased Russian military focus in the area, even Nova Poshta has had to withdraw its services. It issued a statement telling people that they should pick up any parcels or goods which had already arrived at their branches in Donetsk, in the east of Ukraine, by last weekend.

Last week, a train station in the Donetsk region, which is a self-proclaimed breakaway state controlled by pro-Russian leaders, was hit by heavy shelling, killing more than 50 people as they tried to flee.

“From April 9, we will temporarily suspend the work of our branches in Donetsk region,” Nova Poshta said in a statement.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.