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Vadym Stolar: Help for the Armed Forces of Ukraine from the volunteer movement is the key to the Victory of Ukraine? 

In Ukraine, the public sector and volunteer movement play an important role during the full-scale war, working in close cooperation with AFU and approaching Victory, including Vadym Stolar. In his opinion, every Ukrainian should be an active participant in these processes, especially those who have weight in society, political influence and financial opportunities.? 

Until the beginning of a full-scale war, while hostilities were going on in the east of the country, the involvement of the society in helping the military was mostly indirect. Among the most active participants in the public sector in this direction since 2014 were the “Come Back Alive”, the “SOS Army” foundations, and the Serhiy Prytula Charitable Foundation.? 

Photo by israel palacio on Unsplash

However, with the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Russia, the war affected – without exaggeration – all Ukrainians. And society immediately demonstrated a unique ability to unify. Only in March 2022, citizens transferred UAH 8.1 billion to help the Armed Forces.?

Helping the army is a priority activity of the volunteer movement, – Vadym Stolar

Today, almost 100% of charitable foundations in Ukraine conduct their activities in the context of war. It is difficult to find associations that would not participate in joint work for Victory, and this is quite understandable in a country at war.? 

“Although our Foundation has existed since 2020, when during the Covid-19 pandemic we actively helped medical institutions throughout the country, on February 24 we definitely reset our worldview, approaches to charity and volunteering,”– Vadym Stolar notes. – We have significantly expanded our activities. In addition to charitable projects aimed at civilians, large-scale programs of support for the Ukrainian army were launched. They were combined into the “++ for the Armed Forces” metaproject. After all, there is no doubt that today the help of the army is a priority activity of the volunteer movement and a guarantee of our Victory”.

According to Vadym Stolar, during the latest stage of the “++ for the Armed Forces” project, it was possible to close 550 personal applications, providing 2,200 sets of clothing and equipment to Ukrainian defenders.? 

In general, since the beginning of the large-scale invasion, the military has been provided with:? 

– 39,310 units of military equipment, tools and clothing;? 

– 30,240 units of medicines;? 

– 380 quadcopters, anti-drone systems, thermal imagers, video cameras, other high-tech equipment and techniques;? 

– 40 specialized off-road vehicles, armored vehicles and motor boats.? 

After the start of the large-scale invasion, Vadym Stolar’s foundation actually “got on the military rails.” Similar changes affected the “Razom for Ukraine” foundation, which since 2013 has supported public projects in Ukraine with the help of the American diaspora; the “Monster Corporation” foundation, which previously took care of the treatment of children in the Odesa region; the “Birds” project of volunteer Tata Kepler, who has been engaged in military medicine since 2014, but scaled up her activities in 2022. Such activity has become forcibly mainstream and very important in the current conditions.? 

Vadym Stolar: Charitable foundations contribute to the organization of citizens who seek to help others

According to polls, the majority of Ukrainians in one way or another participates in helping the Armed Forces and civilians affected by the war. According to a sociological study by Ilko Kucheriv Foundation “Democratic Initiatives”, 61% of Ukrainians were involved in such processes. At the same time, about 10% helped with physical work, 31% financially, and 20% financially and with work.? 

“Charitable foundations contribute to the organization of citizens, most of whom today seek to help the Armed Forces and war victims. It can be a direct association of volunteers for joint work for the benefit of those who need support. For example, from the first days, we at the Foundation organized a kitchen and purchased products at our own expense, involving volunteers to prepare hot lunches for our defenders and citizens. Over time, we launched a number of social projects, for the implementation of which we engaged volunteer psychologists, art therapists, etc. Now, among other things, we are inviting assistants to pack grocery sets that we send all over the country, – says Vadym Stolar. – Another activity of the foundations is collection of donations for the joint purchase of expensive equipment, which one volunteer simply does not have enough money for. Just think of Serhiy Prytula, whose foundation raised UAH 600 million for the purchase of three Bayraktar drones for the Armed Forces.”

It is worth noting that, among other things, it is easier for volunteer foundations to function due to the legal regulation of their activities than for individual volunteers.? 

“There are a number of problems, because institutional volunteering took place in Ukraine. This is a really powerful state institution, but, unfortunately, it is not legally supported. That is, there is no legislation that would regulate the existence of the volunteer movement in Ukraine and the interaction of volunteers with the state. This causes quite a few problems. It is easier for volunteer foundations, because they operate within the limits of the laws on charitable organizations and charitable activities,” explains Serhiy Prytula.? 

Speaking of foundations operating in Ukraine, it is worth mentioning the global initiative of President Volodymyr Zelensky UNITED 24. Launched a year ago, it raised $175 million in the first three months of operation. Funds come from charitable organizations, international partners and simply caring citizens. After receiving them, they are distributed in three directions: for direct support of the Armed Forces, for meeting the medical and humanitarian needs of civilians, as well as for the restoration of infrastructure.? 

Aid from foreign partners is important, and its size should be increased, – Vadym Stolar

The volunteer movement in Ukraine is a phenomenon that will be studied by future sociologists and psychologists. But it should be remembered that, despite the stubborn resistance of the Ukrainian people and the fact that the enemy has weakened since the beginning of the invasion, we could not do without internal forces alone. However, the entire civilized world stood up for Ukraine and continues to provide assistance.? 

“Without Western artillery, anti-tank weapons, MANPADS and the rest, we would have collapsed a long time ago. If we, for example, did not receive anything from February 24, I think the war would have already been completed for us in this format, i.e. lost,” Taras Chmut, head of the “Come Back Alive” foundation, said a year ago.? 

Thus, since the beginning of the Russian invasion the United States has provided Ukraine with 63.4 billion dollars in aid, including 45.3 billion dollars in military aid, 14.2 billion dollars in financial aid, and 3.8 billion dollars in humanitarian aid.? 

The European Union, which gave us 16.7 billion dollars, of which 3.8 billion dollars was directed to military aid, 11.3 billion to financial aid and 1.7 billion to humanitarian aid, was the second largest supporter of our country.? 

Great Britain took the third place in the ranking of the largest external donors of Ukraine with a total amount of 8.3 billion dollars, of which 7 billion was military aid, 1.1 billion was financial aid, and 0.3 billion was humanitarian aid.? 

“I, like all Ukrainians, express my immense gratitude to our friends and partners around the world for the invaluable help they provide us in the war for independence. However, the war continues. That is why we need more of the most modern and powerful military equipment and weapons of the West. We need tanks, planes, air defense equipment, artillery and a maximum of ammunition, Vadym Stolar emphasizes.? 

It seems that this is also understood in the West. The other day, the USA announced an additional package of military aid to Ukraine worth 500 million dollars.? 

The US aid package will include:

?? additional ammunition for Patriot;

?? anti-aircraft complexes Stinger;

?? additional ammunition for HIMARS;

?? explosive munitions and systems for clearing obstacles;

?? demining equipment;

?? 155-mm and 105-mm caliber artillery shells;

?? 30 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles;

?? 25 Stryker armored personnel carriers;

?? tube-launched missiles with optical tracking and wire guidance (TOW);

?? Javelin anti-armor systems;

?? AT-4 anti-tank systems;

?? anti-armor missiles.

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