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UK blacksmiths forge Ukrainian trench supports

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A group of blacksmiths based in north-east England are forging metal in aid of Ukrainian soldiers.

Hammer and Hound forge in Blyth has been tasked with forging 500 "log dogs" - large steel staples used to reinforce trenches.

Local companies have supported the forge's effort by donating gas, coal and steel.

The forge owner said an international community of blacksmiths were using their skills to support Ukraine.

"I could donate tins of beans," said Alex Sowden.

"But I want to use my skillset to help".

The Russia-Ukraine war began in February 2022 when Vladimir Putin sent up to 200,000 soldiers into Ukraine's capital city, Kyiv.

"Ukrainian blacksmiths were doing what they can to support the front lines," Mr Sowden said.

"Their skillset is in making stuff, so they're making offensive and defensive equipment.

"Smiths across Eastern Europe started getting involved, all making stuff to help Ukraine hold the line.

"It's only just started filtering into the UK. If I'd have known this was going on I would have done it sooner."

The log dog, he said, was "basically a massive staple", used to connect logs used in trenches.

"It saves doing intricate carpentry because they're going to get assaulted," he added.

"It's disgraceful we're back in trench warfare.

"I don't want to help a war, but if I'm going to do it, I'm going to make defensive equipment."

The day of log dog forging was a "one-off", Mr Sowden said, but added he planned to offer further support in the future if needed.

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