Hello and welcome to Ukraine Aid Operations’ brand new newsletter!

We’ve created it to keep you, our friends and donors, informed about how we’re utilizing the donations you’ve entrusted us with, as well as share some of the other related things we’re up to.

What’s new at Ukraine Aid Ops

As you can imagine there is a whole lot going on. First, we’ve just received a huge delivery in Kyiv of your Amazon Gift List donations. 3053 items, 951 kg, 2,097 lbs worth! First aid, hearing protection, drones, night vision, solar chargers, pouches, packs, knee pads and much more! There will be be some very happy heroes shortly thanks to all of you in the Ukraine Aid Ops global family.

Second, we surpassed our goal of raising 125,000 euros to supply 500 secure radios. Due to opsec we aren’t sharing more about this, but we can assure you our partners are very happy!

Third, we’ve purchased and received 150 helmets and 100 sets of ceramic body armor with carriers, and are in the process of handing them out directly to extra mobile units we know are at or headed to the front lines and require the reduced weight that ceramic plates provide versus steel.

A volunteer team from Finland purchased three 4×4 vehicles for donation and with help from another Estonian and an American, drove to Ukraine from Finland carrying some of your donated Amazon items to Kyiv for distribution to front-line units in need of equipment. Much of the story of that convoy was covered by YLE in Finland (https://yle.fi/uutiset/3-12479716) including details of the drive and the border crossing.

And last for now, the second large batch of just under 1,400 steel body armor plates has been manufactured and arrived into Kyiv via our logistics network. 6.6 tons worth, 13,200 lbs.  That will help protect about 700 brave defenders of freedom in Ukraine!

History of Ukraine Aid Ops

If you have been following us on Twitter for a while, you are familiar with what we are doing. But not all of you will know how this mission started, and many of you may have only recently heard of Ukraine Aid Ops (UAO).

So let’s take a dive into the early days of how UAO came into existence. 

At the beginning of April 2022 Harri, a veteran of the Estonian military, learned that there was a lack of protective gear in Ukraine. When Russia invaded, the Ukrainian army called up all its reserves and these were also joined by over 100.000 civilians who volunteered to serve. This massive expansion led to a shortage of pretty much all protective and basic equipment. Soldiers were literally putting sand in their vests in place of ballistic plates.

Harri could not stand seeing soldiers fight without decent protective gear. Using his personal finances, he purchased ballistic steel in bulk and found an Estonian company to cut and bend it into almost 1200 steel armor plates. Then, he personally drove them into Ukraine to donate them to Ukrainian forces in need. They were tested and approved by the Ukrainian Army and quickly put into service.

Harri with the first truckload of plates and one of our plates after it saved a life!

Harri began posting about what he was doing on Twitter under the handle @Harri_EST and word began to spread. His example inspired others to join him and people from around the world got in contact with him to offer their help.

That’s how our organization Ukraine Aid Ops was founded. Since the early days, we have done a lot! We now have over 40 volunteers from around the globe, giving their time to help protect the Ukrainian defenders. What we have done so far (thanks to crowd source donations and charity auctions): 

Purchased and produced protective and lifesaving equipment including:

  • thousands of body armor plates
  • thousands of individual first aid trauma kits (IFAK)
  • hundreds of encrypted radios, tactical vests and plate carriers, backpacks, shoes, batteries and more
  • numerous small reconnaissance drones, night vision goggles (NVD) and helmets 
  • several 4×4 vehicles and an ambulance.

All of this equipment has been transported or is in the process of being transported into Ukraine and handed directly to Ukrainian forces who desperately need them.

We’ve been told our plates have already saved at least 10 lives on the frontlines. Because of your donations, these guys get to go home to their families!  

All of this was made possible thanks to the financial support of our amazing donors. We will need you for a while, the war has just passed the 100 day mark but there is a long way to go until Ukrainians can once again live in peace. Please stick with us until Ukraine is liberated.

You Can Help Ukrainian Soldiers Come Home Alive to Their Families 

Quality protective gear is expensive, but it’s a matter of life or death!

We have a new opportunity for you to help Ukraine. A really important one! We need to raise funds for helmets and more body armor plates and quality plate carriers. We will be manufacturing more of our steel plates and purchasing ceramic ones as well.  Ceramic plates are significantly lighter than steel ones and still protect well enough.  Defenders who need to be more mobile on foot require ceramics to keep them from getting exhausted. The plates are about three times more expensive though, and so we’ll be splitting the cost 80%/20% toward the steel so that we can help protect as many of Ukraine’s defenders as possible.  

Helmets are another item that we get endless requests for from units on the front. You may ask why there is such a shortage for basic gear like this. It;’s expensive first of all, to well-outfit hundreds of thousands of people. The Russians, for instance, have been planning for this scale of war much longer than Ukraine and even they don’t have enough good quality helmets for their troops. There is a lot of footage of Russian troops with old steel helmets from World War 2 or the Cold War.  

DNR (Russian separatist troops) with World War Two era equipment.

If the Russians do not have enough helmets despite all the time they had to prepare, imagine what Ukraine is facing, having to equip all the volunteers who have flooded into the ranks of their army to defend their country. 

We don’t want to be like the Russian generals who don’t care what sort of poor quality gear their men wear into battle! We want to ensure that Ukrainian forces have modern aramid/Kevlar helmets which offer far more protection. Old steel helmets can protect from some shrapnel but they are not at all resistant to modern firearms. We care about our friends at the front and want to do our utmost to provide them with good gear. Aramid/Kevlar NIJ level IIIa helmets will offer much better protection against both shrapnel and smaller caliber bullets.
Will you help us get them the gear that they need?

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