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UMaine graduate returns after providing medical aid to Ukraine

ORONO, Maine (WABI) – Many have stepped up to help Ukraine as it continues to fight invading Russian troops.

TV5 spoke with a University of Maine graduate who just returned from more than a month of medical aid.

“Inside Ukraine right now, it feels a bit like World War III.”

University of Maine graduate and third-year medical student in Vermont, Ryan Warner, recently returned from five weeks of work with the medical aid organization, Med Global.

“About half on the Polish border in Poland and half in Ukraine,” Warner said.

He compares what is happening in Ukraine right now to American efforts during World War II.

“Everyone was part of the war effort, whether they were in Europe or fighting in the South Pacific, or whether they were in the United States,” he explained. “And, inside Ukraine, it’s exactly like that. I mean, we were meeting, you know, basically whole families, like groups of women whose husbands were fighting, and they had put in place what acted as de facto NGOs transporting everything from relatively minor military equipment, such as bulletproof vests to frontline medicine for soldiers, was an inspiring effort.

While those fleeing the country have attracted a lot of attention, Warner says an under-reported group are those who cannot afford to cross the border.

“Hundreds of people crammed into gym-sized rooms on mattresses on the floor, shoulder to shoulder, including pets,” Warner said. “There was, I think, a washing machine and two dryers in this whole veterinary school with a handful of toilets. And, it hasn’t been covered much, to see the incredible amount of internal displacement in the country.

He added that the help sent to the Ukrainian people is greatly appreciated, but more is needed.

“Drape outside your house, you know, let people know that you support the effort, that you support what is happening, that you support Ukraine. Try to send supplies, and the supplies that ‘they’re really looking for, I mean are the obvious things that come to mind would be trauma supplies such as tourniquets, but the other things we found are just regular basic medical supplies we need.’

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