On February 24, 2022, the Russian Federation began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. This act of aggression against a sovereign nation was and continues to be a gross violation of international law, one that has been widely condemned by the international community. In the year that has followed, attacks on civilians and civilian objects have been a hallmark of the war, with violence against the Ukrainian health care system a prominent feature of Russia’s unlawful conduct.
For the past 20 months of this war, the clergy, faithful and friends of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA have sent to Ukraine tons of humanitarian aid, medical and logistical vehicles in support of the civilian and medical institutions. Over 130 medical ambulances have been purchased and sent to Ukraine via the Metropolia of the UOC of the USA in close cooperation with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, military, and civilian hospitals.
Over the past two weeks an additional three ambulances have been purchased and directed towards humanitarian efforts of the medical personnel. While most ambulances that were sent in previous months continue to fulfill the service needs of the wounded and sick, there are several vehicles that have been destroyed by shelling of the Russian military. We prayerfully embrace the souls of those that have lost their lives, while attempting to bring to safety the wounded soldiers and refugees from the occupied towns and villages.
Russia’s hallmark military tactic is to target and destroy hospitals and clinics, a strategy we have seen play out in other conflicts including Syria, Chechnya, and Georgia. Various human rights organizations have documented compelling evidence that Russian forces carried out widespread attacks on Ukraine’s healthcare system, as part of a broader assault on its civilian population and infrastructure. Such attacks are war crimes and sin against the sacredness of human life!
In order to continue to alleviate some of the burden faced by the people of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, who in conjunction with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine has been instrumental in providing medical aid and supplies, as well as logistical vehicles equipped to travel into the war-torn areas to grant aid and save the lives of those on the front lines of the war, or in the regions where the Russians have wreaked devastation, continues to provide much needed assistance.
With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, Prime Hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and Diaspora, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel in close collaboration with St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Society (Protodeacon Ihor Mahlay – president) and the spiritual leadership of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine acquired and commissioned 3 mobile medical logistic vehicle which would be used by the Medical Field Hospitals to grant quick aid to the injured, with the hopes of saving countless lives.
Remember, that even from across the ocean, thousands of miles away, you too can save a life!