A Cranbrook man plans to go abroad and support Ukraine against the Russian military invasion that has sparked the worst armed conflict in the region since World War II.
Curtis Bond contacted Ukrainian representatives in Canada and navigates a complex bureaucratic process before traveling to Eastern Europe to help Ukraine defend the country against the Russian invasion ordered by President Vladimir Putin there. more than three weeks old.
Bond, who served as a reservist in the Canadian Army for four years, said he was forced to volunteer for the Ukrainian cause after seeing online videos of people and children fleeing their homes in caused by artillery bombardment and aerial bombardment.
Bond also noted the friends he made during his time in the military, some of whom were first-generation Canadians whose families had immigrated from Ukraine, but who still had extended relatives and friends in the country.
“Seeing the headlines and hearing from friends, even before it really hit the headlines here…that Russia had invaded or was crossing the border, that was a decision I made on the spot. that if there was a way to help [Ukraine]or if I have to re-enlist in our army, that’s what I was going to do,” Bond said.
“And sure enough, a few days later they launched the Ukrainian foreign legion and I called the embassy about seven or eight times that day, trying to get through.”
Originally hoping to be on his way to Ukraine by Friday (March 11), Bond said the processing and transport delays that have now been approved will likely mean departure within the next two weeks. He says Ukrainian contact information is flowing, however, he is arranging his own transport to the Ukrainian border.
Once at the border, these contacts will direct him to a designated post.
During this time, Bond also handled some of the personal logistics, scouring North America for suitable body armor, ballistic helmets and trauma kits.
Bond said he hopes his experience as a combat engineer in the local military unit will help Ukraine’s defence, which included training in all sorts of disciplines such as infrastructure and defense construction, demolitions and l ordnance disposal, mine clearance, breaches, water purification and management, road and bridge construction.
“Growing up, I was taught – and believed – that Canada was the only place people could come together, with different beliefs and backgrounds, different languages and different skin colors,” Bond said. “But at the end of the day, we are a relatively young country which was a place of hope for many, for a better life. And a force to be reckoned with, as history shows, where we step in and pay the price to stop bullies from bullying and ensure we lead the world in freedoms and democracy. And in doing so, we create and help the rest of the world be and become the best version of itself.
“And for that belief, I’d be happy to bleed or pay the price, anywhere on this planet, because that’s what it means not only to be Canadian, but to be a soldier. “
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 2 million Ukrainians fled to five neighboring countries in just 12 days.
“All European states must continue to show generosity,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “Other countries beyond Europe also have an important role to play in helping those in need and sharing international responsibility for millions of refugees.
“Yet behind this warm welcome lies despair and unimaginable suffering. Refugees who have crossed are safe from violence, but none have been spared enormous loss and trauma. Behind the monolithic statistics lie 2 million stories of separation, anguish and loss.
International humanitarian organizations have also mobilized to support relief efforts in Ukraine.
The Canadian Red Cross has sent seven experts to the country to help with the humanitarian response, while committing $45 million for the International Red Cross response to date.
The federal government also announced that it will match up to $30 million in individual donations from Canadians wishing to support the appeal for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. Two weeks ago, British Columbia also announced a $1 million contribution to the Red Cross.
In Cranbrook, a local group formed a community committee to help reunite immediate family members and other refugees from Ukraine with relatives in Cranbrook and the Kootenay region.
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