Two months ago, we raised money for boats. This month, the Ukrainian bridgehead on the Dnipro is front page news. Marine and Territorial Defence Brigades took hold in Krynky, Kosatschi Laheri, Dachi and other places on the left side of the river. It gives fresh hope and excitement in an otherwise difficult phase of the war. And, importantly, the new front forces the russians to divert men and means, which in turn can lead to new surprises.
Thanks to your generous donations of around $44,000 to date, mobility across the Dnipro and other rivers has been strengthened. With your help, Yuri was able to deliver six rigged inflatable boats as well as 3 aluminium boats, all with powerful new or refurbished motors, as well as three trailers. The inflatable boats are produced in Ukraine and have been approved by the Armed Forces. Another fundraiser we pride ourselves for getting right. We would also like to thank ZeroLine and With Temptation for supporting the boats project, and for their generous contributions to the Ukrainian Marines.
To supply our valiant Ukrainian friends fighting right now on the bridgehead across the icy waters, to help them not only secure but also expand military operations, more russian intruders must be visited. Every day, that requires more boats for ammunition, fuel, medical and food supplies. If you feel like getting on board this giving season, or making a regular donation, click below. Like always, we offer very special giveaways for higher donations (you will be contacted):
$200 – Authorised patch of the Ukrainian Marines
$750 – Piece of art: 30 mm painted shell
$2000 – Piece of art: Russian helmet painted with the burning Moskva
$2500 – Piece of art: Tryzub with impaled Moskva
In the U.S., your donations are tax-deductible, after deduction of the material value of the giveaway.
One-on-one with the defenders from the Luhansk Police
Split focus. This month we are also supplying FPV drones to the Luhansk Police Department (LPD), whose highly skilled pilots are currently in the thick of it — a rare chance to get your hands on one of their Predator badges.
We interview the unit about what it means to fight to reclaim the home you were forced to leave. “I’ll be back” indeed.
The LPD were involved in the liberation of Balaklia, Kupyansk, Lyman and Klishchiivka. Today, their fight is even closer to home.
When Russian forces expanded their occupation of Luhansk at the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the Luhansk Police Department were given two options. They could continue policing in another region, or take on a new set of duties: help the military drive the enemy out of their home. Not often is this quite so literal. One LPD member tells us how he watches from a drone as Russian soldiers live in his own house below.
“It is difficult to describe, but we really do see from our drones the separatist soldiers living in our homes – the people who betrayed their homeland and supported russia. Imagine: you live at home, and a neighbour next to you. You live well: you have a good job, you have a family, you have plans; but your neighbour does not work, lives at the expense of others, has a bad car, a bad house – and because he does not work, he blames everyone else for everything – like he is “prevented” from living normally. And then, one day at 4 o'clock in the morning, he shows up in your yard with a gun, breaks down your fence, sets fire to your car, breaks down your door and tries to shoot you, and at the same time says that he came to “liberate” you. Then he orders you to move to his house, while he will live in your comfortable conditions. Here are my feelings. I am very angry with them. I will hate them forever.”
That people around the world so easily accepted the Kremlin’s justification for its invasion - the liberation of Donbas - only makes local injustices more painful. “Liberate us from what? From comfortable living conditions, from our homes… from our relatives? We lived, flourished, developed. And they came and "freed" us from development and prosperity.”
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence has made it policy to allow assault battalions to fight for their home regions. While this undoubtedly gives them a tactical edge through knowledge of the terrain, it also sustains morale when things get tough or protracted. “That feeling when you see your own home – you are so close to it – motivates you beyond belief.”
Goals take time, and patience. About the current situation on the zero line, “things are basically good,” he says. “But compared to life in peacetime, there are certain ‘nuances’. For one, you must take an enormous amount of care to stay alive. And at the same time, you need to put a lot of effort into improving your skills so you can defend more effectively.
“Recently, drones have been very actively used to conduct hostilities both on our side and on the enemy's side. At the beginning of the full-scale invasion, our soldiers very quickly mastered the principles and tactics of combat operations using a variety of drones. The enemy couldn’t do anything about it for a long time. Over almost two years of the war, Ukrainian pilots have significantly improved their abilities. But the enemy does not stand still, and develops as well. That's why our pilots and technicians continue to develop their skills and abilities to this day. It’s the only way to make sure victory in the drone war and in general is ours and ours alone.”
‘Compared to life in peacetime’ – it seems odd to hear comparisons with peace from the middle of a war. Unlike most fighting units, the Luhansk Police are still police, just with different duties –one can’t help wondering how important it is after two years of fighting to still be able to talk about what you were doing before the war in the present tense. “The fact that I am a policeman has no meaning in the conditions of hostilities because everyone has one common goal – to free our homeland from the invaders. Other military personnel are surprised. They find it hard to believe I am a policeman who fights on the frontline. There is this stereotype that police sit in stations or go around on patrol.
“After victory, all citizens of Ukraine, including police officers, are going to need to do a lot of work to restore our country. In my opinion, police will help people more – a more tolerant and loyal attitude towards the population will show itself, as we take into account what everyone has experienced – what they have gone through. I think society's attitude towards the police will change too – people see that the police walk side by side with the military, do not hide in the rear, do not sit in stations, but fight for the freedom of our land. This war has united Ukrainian society. Made it stronger.”
To speed up the drone program, we have also initiated a company sponsorship scheme. For $10,000, a company or department can supply a unit with 20 drones, a controller and any extras. We would really appreciate your help in connecting us with potential sponsors. For US sponsors, donations are tax-deductible.
Thank you for standing fast with Ukraine. Together, we will win this war!
Sincerely, the UAO Volunteer Team.