A Canadian veteran in Kyiv is teaming up with a US tactical equipment distributor to deliver vital medical supplies to treat wounded Ukrainian soldiers in the region.
Retired Canadian Armed Forces reservist Kevin Leach said he was tempted to join Ukraine’s fight against Russian forces as a foreign fighter. He said he would reconsider when his Ukrainian wife told him he would go anywhere with her.
Leach said that when he met American Nick Pappas—who was forbidden by his loved one to take up arms—he set up a non-governmental organization (NGO) called Project Voya to help another non-governmental organization (NGO) in another way. decided to start an NGO.
“Given that we are facing a potential threat from Russia, I have to contribute to the victory,” said Leach from his apartment in Kyiv. “Anything else, I will be crushed. It will destroy my soul.”
Through donations from several countries, including Canada, the pair are ordering and shipping shipments of basic wartime supplies from the US and Poland. Supplies include tourniquets to help the injured breathe, hemostatic gauze for packing wounds, and chest seals.
“It’s about preserving lives, keeping Ukraine in battle,” said Leach, who served as a sergeant specializing in armored reconnaissance from 2008-2018.
“There are those who are being injured, but their lives are being saved, recovering and able to return to fighting or continue to contribute to the effort against Russia.”
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The effort began when Pappa traveled to Lviv in western Ukraine in the first week of the Russian invasion. He loaded duffel bags with $5,000 worth of medical supplies, thermal imaging telescopes, and binoculars for the battlefield.
Leach said Pappa made his way to the Donbass region in southeastern Ukraine, donating his gear to Ukrainian soldiers and showing them how to use it.
“These guys were so excited to bring an alien into their position and demonstrate through action that they cared,” Leach said.
Since then, Leach said, he and Pappas have built a network of local drivers – among them a Ukrainian military veteran – to deliver cross-border supplies from Poland directly to fighters in eastern Ukraine. He said that it is easy to deliver small shipments to military units as per the requirement.
Of his relationship with Ukraine’s armed forces, Leach said, “We can get things where they’re going without any red tape.” “It never has to go to a government warehouse.”
The project is just starting. One shipment has made it to the Donbass, another shipment is on the way from the US and the NGO has raised enough money for a second order from Poland.
Leach said all this is a big change for him. Since 2018, he has worked for the Canadian contingent of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitoring team in Kyiv.
Before Russia’s invasion in February, Leach’s task was to monitor conflict zones in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions for any breach of the armistice. In a room lined wall-to-wall with TV screens, Leach watched sophisticated cameras and thermal feeds scan the “line of contact” between government and non-government forces in the conflict zone.
Their role was to record explosions, heavy weapons on the front line or any other violation of the Minsk Agreements.
“The whole idea was that it was going to avert a war,” Leach said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t work.”
In a separate effort, Canadian veteran and defense contractor Christopher Baxter said he is volunteering to help deliver medical supplies on a large scale.
Baxter runs the defense contractor company Cana-Longbranch; He said he had sent dozens of arms and ammunition to US bases in Germany and Baghdad during previous conflicts. This time, he said, he is handling logistics and working to arrange a cargo plane to pick up more than $750,000 worth of medical supplies from the charity Care Convoy in Idaho.
The charity said it has received a large donation from a hospital that includes everything needed to set up and operate a field hospital in Ukraine. According to Care Convoy, the shipment will include hospital beds, bandages, prosthetics, surgical instruments, crutches, medicines and sutures.
“The adventure is to get a proper plane,” Baxter said.
After securing a private cargo plane through Ukrainian cargo carrier Antonov Airlines, Baxter said it is still trying to get the airport to waive landing fees and is seeking private donations to cover fuel and other costs. Is. He said he wants the Canadian government to provide cargo space on military C-17 aircraft to transport privately donated supplies to Ukraine.
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,[Canadian] Hospitals are upgrading and rotating the stock,” Baxter said. “Some of it is perfectly good. If [Ukrainians] The donated goods cannot be found, they buy it on the black market, which can be ineffective, overpriced or downright fatal.”
Baxter said the Canadian government could also set up Level 3 military hospitals in Ukraine’s neighboring countries – Poland, Slovakia and Romania – to help rescue people with potentially life-threatening injuries.
“We’ve gone from 2022 back to 1945,” Baxter said. “We are waging a full, outright, full-scale war and destroying hospitals. Anything you can name it is just being blown off the map. They really need everything.”