For Western citizens or people from the United States of America such a phenomenon as a volunteer for military is absolutely an incomprehensible thing. It is impossible even to imagine that an independent country has no money to buy its military basic necessities, such as food, shoes, cloths, etc.
When the conflict in eastern Ukraine began, most of the Ukrainian army starved but kept fighting.It is ridiculous, that the country is unable to provide all the indispensabilities for its defenders. And if the government of the country cannot help its army, then people definitely can.
Thanks to volunteers, benefactors, people who were able to organise fundraising in order to help Ukrainian military, soldiers have all the necessary things.
I have the opportunity to meet one of those 'heroes' and make an interview with well-known Ukrainian volunteer that for many months is at the forefront Ivan Bogdan.
- How do you become a volunteer for Ukrainian army?
I have been working as a commercial director at German company in Ukraine for almost 15 years. As one of many other Ukrainians, my life consists of work, family and friends, hobbies and other things. Then came war into my country. Our Ukrainian army was poorly equipped...Watching all this, I decided that it is just my obligation to help them with everything what I can do and what depends on me. I called some of my friends and asked them if they wanted to join my initiative. All of them said yes. And that how the work started and where I am now, where I am.
- What is your motivation in helping Ukrainian military?
Actually, I have no idea. I live in this country. This is my way to help and to take part in protecting our country from its enemies. We buy for soldiers essential things, they might need : that are helmets, satellite communications, navigations devices, etc. Sometimes we buy food and medications. My task is to determine priorities for our military, to raise funds, find the best price and bring all of these into the ATO zone. Now for autumn and winter soldiers need good warm boots, jackets,sleeping bags, gloves... I keep in touch with Ukrainian diasporas from different countries. They help our military, as well.
- What emotions are you going through doing this volunteer work?
Emotions? Different ones. From satisfaction to disappointment, when something fails, of course. One of the hardest thing is to get to know that one of your soldiers is seriously injured or dead.
- Is it correct to say that volunteer movement is a phenomenon of Ukrainian war, which is misunderstood in particular for foreigners who cannot realise when a regular army depends on its citizens?
Yes, I think just like that. Volunteering is rather an exception to the rule. Now it seems as if Ukrainian society has launched a huge internal process of self-preservation and self organisation. That's why, if volunteering in West Europa is an exception to the rule in Ukraine now, it is a normal thing and moral obligation of everyone.
- Who is wrong, who is right?
Now it doesn't matter. People changed in the face of war or death. People become themselves, true to themselves. Here life is very simple: you are alive today,but tomorrow you might be dead. Here you cherish every moment of life and for many, who is in the forefront is a big test. It is hard to imagine that war is not far away, somewhere in another continent, it is here next to us, in Ukraine.