Hello. I’ve created this fundraiser for a group of volunteers led by Dmitry Astashov in Kharkiv, Ukraine. They saved the lives of my mother and sister. They continue to save the lives of many more people who remain in the city. They evacuate people from one of the most hard-hit cities in Ukraine and deliver humanitarian aid to those who cannot move.
Here’s the story of Dmitry Astashov and his group.
Before the war, Dmitry worked as a sushi chef in a Kharkiv restaurant, and his peaceful life, like many others, was abruptly changed on the night of russian invasion of Ukraine. Kharkiv is one of the largest cities in the country. Due to its proximity to russian border, the city was among the first places to feel the pain of russian artillery and rockets onslaught. On that fateful night, many city dwellers made their choice - to grab the family, pack the car and flee; to hunker down in a bomb shelter; to take an assault rifle and fight; or help in any other way possible. Dmitry, with his friends, chose the latter.
During the three and a half weeks of the war, Kharkiv experienced around 30 to 50 attacks each day. Russian invaders used everything they’ve got to destroy the city and sow fear among the people - artillery strikes, “Grad” multiple rocket launchers, guided missiles, heavy air bombs and even thermobaric bombs. All those attacks resulted in heavy losses among civilians, destruction to city infrastructure and residential houses, creation of a humanitarian crisis. Yet the city still stands. Brave Ukrainian soldiers put up a fierce fight to keep russian ground forces away from the city. City municipal workers repair what is left of the infrastructure to keep the electricity and heat flowing to the remaining houses. And a network of volunteers risk their lives to help those in need.
Dmitry with his group, each using their own personal vehicles help families escape from the city. They are among the few who are fearless enough to enter the most dangerous parts of the city (north-eastern outskirts), where the risk of being hit by a missile is exceedingly high.
Sadly, many civilians are not able to evacuate due to disabilities, age or family members, and they need food / medical supplies to survive. Dmitry and his team regularly deliver packages with supplies to those in need.
War has caused a lot of tragedy for the people of Ukraine. Dmitry’s volunteer team was no exception. They had two of their vehicles destroyed, one was hit by missile fragments causing the driver a concussion from the explosion, and the second was squashed against the wall by an armored vehicle (the driver miraculously survived). Dmitry's own house was severely damaged by an artillery strike.
Yet they persevere. Unbroken. Unwavering. They continue to save the lives of the people.
Let us all help them with their cause! Money will be spent on vehicle procurement and repairs, gas, food, supplies, medicaments and protective equipment.