Ukraine Friends Founders’ Statement on the Anniversary of the Invasion of Ukraine

Image: Dobra Kobra/

It is difficult to accept that a full year has passed since Russia launched its ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The images presented in real-time on video screens and newspapers across the globe document a tragedy not seen in the western world in many decades, with hundreds of thousands of human deaths, millions of people displaced, and immeasurable economic and cultural destruction.

Unfortunately, while the world reacted initially with justified outrage and provided incredible relief for the Ukrainian community faced with this assault, the sheer constancy of the war has dulled many to the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Media coverage has started to focus much more on the shifting front-lines and military actions, as if covering a chess or tennis match, rather than reminding us all of the horrors of this brutal, unjustified war. And we acknowledge that for many, even where the details remain visible, the pain of paying attention can simply be too much to bear.


At this inauspicious anniversary, we want to both take a moment to thank the wonderful donors, volunteers, and partners who have joined with us in rallying to provide relief to the Ukrainian people, and call on all the world to join us in a renewed commitment to providing humanitarian relief to a desperate community ever more in need of our support. Whether we like it or not, this war not only impacts Ukraine, but every single citizen of this country and truly all people around the world.


Our organization was formed in February 2022 with an initial focus on getting refugees out of the war zone safely, while simultaneously delivering first aid kits (IFAKs) and other humanitarian aid to those that needed it most.  Being entrepreneurs, we quickly assessed that the most practical and efficient way to help was to leverage our existing relationships, and build an organization that could be nimble enough to evolve as circumstances changed. We established many partnerships here in the US, as well as on the ground in Ukraine, and have tried to listen and learn, and then fill gaps left open between government and other private sector relief efforts. We continue to evolve, and have identified a number of new initiatives we are launching during this second year of conflict.

With the help of our incredible donors, passionate volunteers, and partners at other nonprofit organizations and government agencies, we oversaw the following accomplishments over the past year:

  • We helped over 30,000 refugees escape the war zone
  • Through a relationship with and the support of AirBnB, we provided safe, temporary housing for more than 10,000 women, children and elderly
  • We delivered more than 90 refurbished ambulancespacked to the brim with medical equipment and supplies, and have another 22 ambulances on the way right now
  • We imported and provided more than 75,000 IFAKs and 50,000 wound and surgical kits, as well as pounds and pounds of hygiene products, and toys
  • We supported Rachel Ray’s efforts to provide hundreds if not thousands of meals to those in need and are escorting her for a return visit in March 2023
  • In partnership with Gostomel United Territorial Community, local residents, volunteers from the city of Kyiv, and Solidarna Molod, we helped to rebuild the roof of a cultural center that was damaged during shelling, provided a heating station and built a playground for the neighborhood children
  • We brought the Mayor of Bucha to the United States in early 2023 to help raise awareness of the horrors of the last year and the need to do more
  • We provided a large number of blankets and 14 pallets of winter clothes to help Ukrainians stay warm during the brutally cold winter

If it is not already clear, we didn’t do any of these things on our own. We don’t deserve or accept credit. It was all accomplished with great effort from our donors and volunteers, as well as the The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), TDF, the Ministry of Health, Rotary International and the City of Bucha – to name a few of the many involved. It is only through these relationships that we were able to provide direct and immediate aid.

As we look to the future, we hope and pray for an immediate cessation of hostilities. But we also know that hopes and prayers don’t always change the world – sometimes action is required. And we will not rest. Ukraine urgently needs help. For example:

  • Many children as a result of being displaced or simply because they are in places unsafe to walk the street, are unable to get to their schools and are forced into distance learning. But laptops are scarce and even if available cost as much as most family’s annual income.
  • Civilian emergency response forces are responding to bombings in their communities without ambulances or first aid equipment.
  • Ukrainian volunteers are reporting to the front lines without any medical equipment.

With all of the above in mind, we will continue to focus on bringing medical equipment to Ukraine, but will add a bit more of a technology focus to our programs as well. True to our entrepreneurial spirit, we are happy to share that we have launched a new program focused on bringing laptops to Ukraine to help children participate in remote learning. And we will keep listening and learning and seeking to partner with anyone and everyone who is willing to support the ongoing provision of humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine.

Michael Sinensky, Chairman of the Board, Ukraine Friends

Joe Sullivan, CEO, Ukraine Friends

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories. Remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.   

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