This is a series of posts about my experience in Poland and Ukraine during the Russian military invasion and attempted takeover of Ukraine in 2022.
After my time brief time in Poland, I crossed into Ukraine. A Polish volunteer drove me to the border and wished me luck. At the time I was carrying heavy duffel bags full of medical and surgical instruments donated by my friends at Didage Sales Co & Surgical Power and I struggled to carry the heavy load at the border checkpoints. I saw Ukrainian refugees standing in line as they were trying to cross into Poland. The border was full of tents of volunteers cooking food, providing supplies, and news teams reporting on the latest developments. I didn’t have time to take it all in, I was on a mission to haul my cargo to the other side which seemed to be a mile long.
Standing in line with me were foreign fighters, former military guys from Britain and Ireland who were going to join the Ukrainian ranks and fight the Russians. All those guys were very tough and very serious. I admire their courage and since I don’t have military experience I was essentially told I couldn’t join a foreign legion. Not to worry, I could still help with logistics and I had some ideas and plans. I met my Ukrainian contact on the other side and got in his car and went directly to Lviv. We saw a huge line of cars, perhaps some were abandoned by people fleeing.
Lviv is about an hour drive from the Polish/Ukrainian border under normal driving conditions. Immediately I could see fortifications, barricades, and anti-tank devices on our way. Even though the front line was on the other side of the country, even on the western border of Ukraine the whole country seemed ready for war. I was brought to up to speed by my Ukrainian friend who had some training in psychology. Now because of the war, he works as a psychologist helping refugees deal with the trauma they’ve seen and experienced.
All Ukrainians have been greatly affected by the war, even those in what were considered safe places in Ukraine. Psychologically, every single person in Ukraine has trauma. The threat of Russian cruise missiles hitting civilian targets is always present and the attacks were daily. Shopping malls, apartment buildings, homes have all been bombed by Russian cluster bombs and cruise missiles. Thousands of civilians have been killed and many more wounded and maimed. Hospitals overrun to the point that some had to be transported to Germany and other European countries for medical help.
Below I have some photos of my time in Lviv. My primary mission wasn’t to take photos but I had to document some things.