A Ukrainian man from Vancouver is calling for more help for the eastern European country, a month after he landed in Kyiv to help with the war effort.
Nazarii, who has asked not to have his last name published to protect family members in Ukraine, has been doing logistics work with the Territorial Defence Forces since arriving in the country just after Russia invaded in February.
“There’s three acute shortages that our government didn’t think it was going to need in such quantities,” he said.
“Personal protection, you know, body armor, communication such as digital radios, satellite phones, ect., and specific medial items such as tourniquets, those Israeli bandages, chest wound bandages, ect.”
Nazarii’s trip to Ukraine wasn’t originally intended as a mission to defend the country.
In February, as talk of conflict with Russia grew, he moved up a planned summer visit with his family because of an “internal gut feeling” something was going to happen.
He was on a layover in Istanbul when the invasion began.
“So a couple of days passed, I stayed in Istanbul, and then I realized that none of my family is planning to move or evacuate. They are planning to stay,” he said.
“And I realized, OK, I’ve got to go because I’ve got to be with everyone else, it would be wrong from a moral standpoint to fly back to Vancouver.”
Nazarii has lived in Vancouver since 2014, where he went to English language school and now has a full-time job doing logistics for a local company called VoltsSafe.
Since arriving in Kyiv, he has been working 14-hour days using his skills to help with the collection and distribution of essential goods.
Supplies have been getting through, and Nazarii said financial help from donors had already allowed him to secure a dozen badly needed radios.
“Those radios are needed like air. They can’t be bought anywhere,” he said.
“They are going to medics, they’re going to all kinds of units. They’re extremely needed. And those radios that were provided (take) 25 weeks lead time to procure.”
Trevor Burgess, CEO of VoltSafe, said the company was happy to be able to help, and was looking for ways to do more.
He said the outpouring of support since Global News first shared Nazarii’s story has been overwhelming.
“We’ve had people just walk into our facility and say, ‘Hey, we saw that on the news, I’ve got this, I’ve got that, I can help out more,'” he said.
“People we don’t know just showing up. It’s certainly heart-warming to see people care about what goes on in the world. It’s not always about what’s going on here, we’re fortunate. It’s the people who are in dire need.”
Nazarii said so far his family has remained safe, but some of them have had to move several times because danger areas from the conflict keep shifting.
He said he’s unsure when he will be able to return to Canada, but that it won’t be before the war is over.
“Please, the western societies, Canadians, Americans, Europeans, please don’t get tired of this, right? We don’t have a choice to get tired. We must keep going because, otherwise, we are dead,” he said.
“Please continue to support us if you see in a week, in two weeks, in a month, when you see a news article about Ukraine or a news report, just don’t skip it — because we are here … Please don’t forget about us. It’s a very bad situation here.”