UPDATE: 11 a.m.
A Ukrainian man has reached out to the residents of Kelowna to thank them for their donated supplies that recently arrived in Ukraine.
Valeriy Payevsky, a resident of Kyiv, posted to the Kelowna Stands With Ukraine Facebook page Saturday morning with an overview of where Kelowna's donations have gone in the country.
“On behalf of our all heroic defenders and the people of Ukraine, we express our deep respect and sincere gratitude,” Payevsky says.
“All these make us strong, help to keep courage and faith in our faster victory in fighting for the truth, light and being our independent country! Glory to Ukraine! Glory to heroes!”
Last week, Kelowna resident Danylo Sora travelled to Warsaw, Poland with about 20 pieces of luggage full of supplies that had been bought through Kelowna's fundraising efforts. Kelowna Stands with Ukraine has raised about $250,000 through their fundraising efforts.
Payevsky also posted a number of photos showing the new supplies in the hands of Ukrainian soldiers, alongside "Kelowna Stands With Ukraine" signs.
He says medicine was sent to a “Special Medical Battalion” that's preparing first-aid kits for Ukrainian soldiers.
Goggles, viewfinders, tactical gloves, bulletproof vests, knee pads, knives, lighters, thermal underwear, military armour, backpacks, rangefinders and binoculars were delivered to different parts of the Kyiv and Kharkiv regions, while small drones were sent to the most “tense” areas.
“With the help of the equipment provided, the operations of our military are very successful in countering enemy attacks,” Payevsky says.
Last month, 30 walkie-talkie sets previously sent from Kelowna were sent to sniper and scout groups in Bucha, Irpen, Gostomel, Boryspil and other regions around Kyiv and Kharkiv.
Payevsky also thanked Sora for personally delivering the latest shipment himself.
“Such an incredible step has greatly accelerated the arrival of all necessary aid to first front-line of the defence,” Payevsky says.
"We believe that our victory is near, but, unfortunately, the enemy does not stop its attacks on our country, so the question of the need for assistance and equipment is still acute for the Ukrainian army."
Those interested in supporting Kelowna Stands With Ukraine can send money by e-transfer to [email protected], or cash can be dropped off in person at Norm Letnick's MLA office at Highway 33 and Asher Road in Rutland.
ORIGINAL: 4 a.m.
Support from Kelowna is being felt in Ukraine, after a local organization has raised $250,000 to help with the nation's fight against Russia.
A recent video taken from the contested Donbas region of Ukraine shows a 'Kelowna Stand With Ukraine' sign on the dashboard of a vehicle, which is following a military vehicle through the streets.
Danylo Sora, one of the directors of Kelowna Stands With Ukraine, posted the video to organization's Facebook page Friday, along with a letter from the Borysbil, Ukraine City Hall, thanking Kelowna for their support.
Sora travelled from Kelowna to Warsaw, Poland last week to deliver a shipment of supplies to Ukraine. Supplies included medical equipment, clothing, boots, goggles, gloves and other tactical gear.
“Everything that's helpful on the front lines,” Sora said. “I do only military stuff, to save lives of our soldiers and to help them win this war as soon as possible.”
Sora, who was born in Ukraine and has lived in Kelowna for the past seven and a half years, has been working with a close friend of his in Ukraine. That friend has been distributing the supplies to different military units in need across the country.
“If you deliver it directly to the person by yourself, it's way, way faster and more effective,” Sora said.
While his friend is unable to leave Ukraine, because he under 60 years old, Sora met with a 64-year-old man in Warsaw, who was able to bring the supplies back into Ukraine. That man is also a Kelowna resident, and he flew to Ukraine to help with the war effort just days after the Russian invasion began.
While this was Sora's first time delivering supplies himself, Kelowna Stands With Ukraine has previously sent over supplies with others who've been travelling to the country.
“Hopefully war will end, but if not, hopefully I will be able to go within the next couple weeks again with needed stuff to help,” Sora said.
Sora says Kelowna Stands With Ukraine has collected about $250,000 to purchase supplies for the Ukrainian people, but he notes that donations have decreased as the weeks have gone on.
Those who are interested in supporting the cause can send funds by e-transfer to [email protected], or cash can be dropped off in person at Norm Letnick's MLA office at Highway 33 and Asher Road in Rutland. Those interested in helping can also reach out to Sora at 250-899-7747.