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A United Ukraine Special Project has Lifesaving Results
We are always looking for new ways to partner with Ukrainians helping others.
Hello, this is United Ukraine co-founder, Nathan. We’re going to take a pause from talking about our work of supporting families which is still ongoing, and talk about a side project that this week spent over $20,000 to get supplies into Ukraine. Not only because I believe it to be important work, but because it is also a window to the experience of ordinary people in this war.
As the war started, many Ukrainians rushed to volunteer in “Territorial Defence Brigades:” military units spontaneously created to perform mostly non-frontline tasks and support roles that can be filled by non-professional soldiers. I have several Ukrainian friends serving in Territorial Defense and many more involved in supplying these units.
Because the Ukrainian army has grown so much in response to the invasion, there were no ready-made supply chains to outfit all these new troops. Equipment like body armor especially is in short supply. Of my Ukrainian friends nearly everyone is either related to or friends with someone serving in territorial defense and as a result, the work of supplying these new units has been handled by civilians, both those still in Ukraine and refugees abroad. This is an act of care widely undertaken by Ukrainians to whom it is often deeply personal because of their strong connections to those serving in the units.
One project United Ukraine has taken a direct role in is the supply of goods for combat medics. It was initially started by Kseniia Krasnova.
She’s a documentary filmmaker and theater actress. Her father is in the army and her direct contacts in the military let her know about the vital need for higher quality tourniquets than were currently available. The problem was that these specialized combat tourniquets were basically unobtainable and back-ordered all across Europe. She reached out to me and also to another friend Santiago Andrigo, an Argentine who lived in Kyiv and is married to Vira, a Ukrainian doctor.
Santiago consulted with a friend that was a combat medic to get a list of all of the needed medical supplies that were becoming scarce in Europe, mostly specialized gauze and dressings used to stop heavy bleeding fast. He also began raising funds.
This is where United Ukraine began to help. United Ukraine helped by increasing the scope of the fundraising roughly doubling the amount raised to over $20,000 — an amount that was unthinkably large to us when we began the planning. We were also able to help locate the needed supplies and arrange for the logistics to get them to Kseniia currently in Western Ukraine where she will oversee their distribution to units in need. I will also point out that United Ukraine’s other co-founder Adam Romney offered his house as a shipping waypoint and that he and his cats will be soon sharing space with hundreds of pounds of medical supplies.
So why does this all matter? A Russian user posted this image on Twitter comparing the medical kits of a Russian soldier (top) and a Ukrainian (bottom).
Honestly, I don’t know enough about Russian logistics and provisioning to tell you how representative this is. But I can say in my experience of Ukrainian actions during this war there is a deep commitment to those serving the defense of the country and that is a direct reflection of values. While people have certainly been excited about Javelin missiles and Bayraktar drones, the bulk of the effort has been focused on the preservation of life and the care of others, not the proliferation of death.
And so I’d also like to think of how those of us helping from abroad should feel about this. In all this, there are two emotions that sit very close to each other but are in fact very different. Sometimes I hear that “the war is too big, I feel like there’s nothing I can do.” This feeling is called despair. It is feeling like you are in a place where there is no way out.
The second feeling is of responsibility, it’s how I feel when I look over the line items for what we ordered. The cost of an individual tourniquet is $27. But if it is where it needs to be at the moment it is needed, then the value is another human life, the value is infinite. Knowing how simple helping is makes me feel a strong call of responsibility. I’ve started to sub-consciously price out all my daily purchases in terms of gauze, breathing tubes, and needles. And responsibility can be a terrible feeling. I think this call of responsibility can feel like despair, but instead of being in a place where there’s no way out, you’re in a place where the only way out is a place you don’t want to go.
The “way out” in this situation is to care for another person that you don’t know or understand. And this is scary because the demand is infinite; we can never exhaust the responsibility. If we save one, we will see the need to save more. The more we do, the more our responsibility grows. This infinity towers over us. It makes us feel small in the same way as despair…but it’s different. Because by leaning into the responsibility we are on the path to love, whereas despair is only the path to annihilation.
You have an opportunity to help in this terrible time - to do something that somewhere, for someone could mean everything.
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Thank you all so much for your continued support.