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B.C. humanitarian group vows to keep fundraising to support Ukraine

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For the past year and a half, Ruslan Tymcyk has been leading a tank brigade on the front lines in the east of Ukraine, defending his country against the Russian invasion.

“We just keep going and we are not going to give up,” said Tymcyk.

He and his fellow soldiers are confident that Ukraine will emerge victorious.

“Yes, morale is very good,” said Tymcyk.

Tymcyk chose to serve his country in the heart of the battle in the east but the war effort is evident in every community throughout Ukraine.

The city of Kivertski in the west has directed 80 per cent of its budget towards the military effort, including purchasing 25 pickup trucks on their way to the frontlines.

“These trucks will be outfitted with anti-drone artillery systems,” said Volodyr Hetman, a platoon commander the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

The team from Vancouver Island has come to Ukraine to give much-needed humanitarian aid to communities throughout the west of the country.

In the region of Olyka the team was show what was the result of a community effort to protect children during a Russian missile attack.

“The community came together, volunteered their time to actually dig this out and create this bomb shelter for their students,” said Bob Beckett, who is leading the team.

It took two months throughout the summer to build and because of the safety measure, students were able to return to school this year.

“I think one of the things that we heard from a few communities was that the children are our future,” said Christine Lervold, a volunteer with the team.

Throughout the five days spent in the war-torn country, the team travelled to five communities, toured two hospitals and met with as many school districts. All while delivering tens of thousands of dollars in humanitarian aid to the country.

Along with that aid came a simple message: “To make sure the people of Ukraine know that we are there to help them through this,” said Beckett.

The team says its work isn’t done.

“We are going to continue with our fundraising,” said Bruce Brown, a volunteer team member.

“We need to continue to stand by them and continue to support them,” said Lervold.

A commitment that is appreciated by the Ukrainian people. People like Tymcyk who knows first hand what is at stake if Russia wins the war.

“We need this help more than ever,” said Tymcyk. “I hope with all this support we receive from the world community we can finally achieve that long-lasting peace that we so wish for.”

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