The New York Police Department partners with the Russian American Officers Association (RAOA) to gather medical supplies for the people of Ukraine in the midst of the Russian invasion of the country, said Friday the president of the association.
RAOA and the non-profit organization it works with are collecting ibuprofen, aspirin, gauze and first aid kits, said Ukrainian officer and RAOA vice-president Stanislav Zubyk .
A complete list Desired supplies also include bandages, acetaminophen, and tourniquets. Collection boxes will be placed in all 77 patrol areas, according to NYPD Community Affairs Bureau Inspector Max Tolentino.
“We have always been united, and right now we are more united than ever,” Artem Kuzmin, a Russian NYPD officer and RAOA president, said at a press conference on Friday. “Our goal is to help the people of Ukraine and to make sure that we collect as many supplies as possible for people as quickly as possible.”
Since the beginning of the invasion on February 24, more than 1.2 million refugees have fled Ukraine, according to the UN. More than half entered Poland, while others went to other neighboring countries, including Hungary, Slovakia, Moldova and Romania, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said.
In the besieged city of Mariupol, the mayor said civilians are trapped without electricity or water. Several grocery stores have been destroyed and pharmacies have run out of medicines, a staff member from Doctors Without Borders said on Saturday. US officials have warned Russia is increasingly hitting civilian infrastructure.
The NYPD initiative will last until March 11, Tolentino said. The supplies will be taken to one of the NYPD’s warehouses, where they will be sorted, packaged and then transported to New Jersey for shipment to Poland, he said.
“We don’t defend politics,” Kuzmin said. “We are defending the Ukrainian people or the Russian people and that is our goal.”
The conflict has been “extremely difficult”, said Zubyk, who added that the focus must be on what can be done here, and that starts with sending aid.
“We are united by the fact that we are all immigrants, we are all immigrants, we lived the immigrant experience in the United States,” Zubyk said. “We share similar backgrounds. … We want to get help. That’s what we focus on. Nothing else gets us down.
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell praised the efforts in a tweet.
“When people need help most – in our city or around the world – New York’s Finest never fails to step up and help,” Sewell tweeted. “Always amazed by the compassion and dedication of NYPD officers. Their message of unity is loud and clear.”
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