Слава Україні - “Slava Ukrayini”

Brent, a successful American entrepreneur, was living and working in the Ukraine when the Russians invaded in February 2022.
But Brent decided to stay and help where he could, and distribute funds to needy residents, victims and refugees in Kyiv and Ukraine.

Here are his war entries. You can donate here:

Monday 17 October 2022

Who will miss them who is weeping now?

The day cranked up quick and early in Kyiv with a loud harrumph and the shake of two explosions. Hopping from bed slipping quickly into clothes I grabbed the macchiato and ran to the trusty 1973 Lada.  I heard automatic weapons fire and thought; shit the Russians are inside the city again? That was a definite drop in morale. I hopped in the tank (Lada) and tooled south down Khreshchatyk Street swivelling my head back and forth back and forth searching for smoke or an ambulance. It's not a great thing; when you're an outerwear maker and a film distributor, and you should be relaxing during your final 40 “sunset” years but now you have to admit you've become an ambulance chaser. I drove 5k down to Ocean Plaza constantly scouting for smoke or ambulances with the windows down so I could hear and smell as well.  Back up towards the Olympic Stadium I sped and finally spied an ambulance and chased it to the scene of the bombing close onto the once busy train station.

Mayhem prevailed.  Swarming with police, soldiers in combat gear, National police with balaclavas pulled up, Special Forces warriors, firefighters, rescue squad fire trucks, ambulances and a mix of early morning humanity as well as that sub-level of humanity: journalists.  Apparently, the first two Russian drones hit a tall building at about 6:30 a.m. setting the roof on fire.  The firefighters were quickly on top of the roof examining and working to put the fire out.  We were restricted to an area about a block away.  A pile of journalists at the police tape were taking photos and videos and exchanging greetings for the ones they've known from the war zones, suddenly returned to historic European Kyiv. 

Shocking hundreds of the gathered another horrendous explosion 100 meters away lit up the left side of the road.  A Kamikaze drone had hit a historic three-story building and brought the entire front down.  Debris was scattered across the road.  Smoke was billowing out like a giant smoke machine puffing out dark smoke into an ironically beautiful blue sky day, old Mr. Sun had creeped up while we were working. 

The police blocked all journalists.  I walked uphill to a parallel street and came back through an alleyway to get closer to the third strike.  When I slipped out of the dark ancient alley I was next to the bombed historic building surrounded by rescue workers, debris and billowing smoke.   There was debris blown all over the street, sirens keening, people running, civilians panicked, folks looking up in the air frightened by more drones.  As I took more footage of the damage and hoped there was nobody caught in the rubble of the building, the brave firefighters were scrambling up the large concrete precarious pieces of debris and crawling inside to take the hose up closer to the fire…. maybe looking or hoping for survivors.  There was one Brave fireman that crawled in underneath some heavy room-size concrete blocks and another firefighter up high on the debris helping him when suddenly one of the policemen started yelling drone drone quick quick and everybody scampered fast to the nearest garage including the soldiers. The fireman stayed on the building even knowing a drone attack was imminent. It felt good to look at the Clear Blue Sky from the darkness of a garage with four or five Ukrainian soldiers standing in front of us.  Somehow, it’s reassuring to be near the soldiers and their weapons these days as well to see Ukrainian tanks and heavy equipment. I noticed a tall young man standing against the wall bleakly sobbing. I was standing next to him and hadn't seen/heard him. I guessed he lost somebody in the old historic building bombing. What do you say to somebody who just lost a loved one? I just rubbed his shoulder for a minute… try to show him some human sympathy and kindness, it felt too little.  Soon we were able to emerge from the dark garage back into the rubble overseen by the clear Blue Sky.  The damaged Street, the destroyed home and the smoke blowing across the street while you knew you should be warily looking blue skyward for drones.  I was again taking videos and photos of the Brave fireman searching for survivors in this huge pile of rubble when suddenly the entire top half of the building cracked and crumbled slowly at first like a giant avalanche just getting started.  What once started harmlessly in slow motion the weight of the building gained speed and quickly slide down onto the fireman burying one or two of them …. hopelessly I was wishing one of them could emerge alive.  After witnessing that tragedy I left the scene shaken, sad, and angry. I thought about their families and imagined they were young guys with decades ahead.  Who will miss them who is weeping now?  They took no care for their safety.  When first I watched them I thought they take such a large risk climbing up a crumbling building when only a falling brick could kill you.  But without hesitation into the debris and house-sized precariously tilting slabs of concrete had slipped the fireman. I went back up the alley and back to the other side of the street where I originally stood and tried to stay close to humans and unwind.  I focused on regular-day people.  I took photos of civilians walking past the Carnage as they strolled or ran back and forth to work or to get their kids everyone anxious everyone glancing Towards the Sky wondering what Putin will rain down on them knowing it's ineffectual and worthless and he's defeated but knowing he can still hurt us…..another day in Kyiv

     Слава Україні      

Мені потрібні боєприпаси, а не їзда

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