Local support for Ukraine dwindles as Russian invasion reaches 6 months

Posted at 5:15 AM, Sep 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-02 10:06:35-04

(WXYZ) — A local Ukrainian aid organization that's been sending medical supplies and vehicles overseas since the Russian invasion began, has noticed a decline in support.

Donations of both money and supplies peaked during the spring, said Sasha Tkachenko with United Support for Ukraine.

"We received tons of help from metro Detroiters," he said.

But by late this summer the support has grown more scarce, he said, particularity in an area they need most; medical supplies. The group's Amazon wish list is how Sasha and a large team of volunteers get the necessary supplies to people who need it in Ukraine.

“We’re still able to cover the gaps using our own money right now,” Sasha told Action News.

Right now that money is buying supplies like chest seals and quality tourniquets; the latter is becoming more crucial every day in Ukraine according to Dan Rebar, a U.S. Air Force Veteran currently volunteering there with a medical unit.

“The fighting here has turned to artillery conflict, long-range artillery conflict. So we’re seeing a lot of shrapnel,” Rebar said.

Rebar said volunteers like him often rely on foreign donations, including those from metro Detroit.

“We certainly have less, but my unit in particular, we’re still doing okay,” he said.

Rebar met Sasha before leaving for Ukraine, and helped delivery medical equipment on his way there.

Last week, 7 Action News spoke with Rebar from Kyiv, where hope in the streets was high, as evidence of a recent Ukrainian victory was made public near Maidan or Independence Square; destroyed Russian tanks.

"And they put them on display here to a very receptive Ukrainian audience. You can see it’s a couple days later and there are still crowds here,” he said.

Days earlier, people gathered in the square to celebrate 31 years of Ukrainian independence.

Rebar had originally planned to volunteer in Ukraine for several weeks. It's been four months and he said he has no plans to leave.

He proudly displays an American flag patch on his uniform sleeve, and said he gets warm responses and gratitude when people reference it.

Rebar said the people in Ukraine he speaks to express hope and thanks to the United States.

Late last month the Biden Administration announced a nearly $3 billion additional aid package to Ukraine for its defense; the largest single aid package from the U.S. since the invasion started.

“They are absolutely ecstatic," Rebar said of the people he speaks with in Kyiv.

According to a recent Congressional report on Ukraine spending, there's around $23.5 billion dollars appropriated for fiscal year 2022 on U.S. security assistance, including $12.55 billion to replenish DOD equipment stocks.

Locally, Sasha and his team continue to work overtime on top of their regular jobs to send combat-ready medical supplies in bulk. The shipping container ends up costing several thousand dollars and is shipped to Ukraine by way of Poland.

Given the current supply chain to Ukraine, Sasha feels this is the best way to help.

He has family and friends still in the region, and gets updates regularly.

“Quality items are very hard to find," he said.

He gets reports the medic packs they've been sending over since early spring are making a huge impact; quality supplies have been difficult to find in that part of Europe, he said.

To help support the United Support for Ukraine, click here.

You can also visit or call 313-920-9641.