Ukraine’s soldiers have rockets and drones, but are running low in boots and T-shirts | NBC News

“Ukraine wasn’t ready for this war. We never thought that our neighbor, who turned out to be our enemy, would resort to a full-scale invasion,” said volunteer Dmytro Kazmirchuk.

by UKCHP_Admin

ODESA, Ukraine — At a sprawling open-air market near the Black Sea, shoppers duck in and out of rusting shipping containers that have been converted to makeshift army surplus shops, scanning row upon row of uniforms, boots and tactical gear.

Some are Ukrainian soldiers stocking up on supplies for the battlefield. Others, like former taxi driver Dmytro Kazmirchuk, are volunteers taking it upon themselves to outfit front-line troops who still lack the basics.

“Ukraine wasn’t ready for this war. We never thought that our neighbor, who turned out to be our enemy, would resort to a full-scale invasion,” Kazmirchuk says as he picks out goggles, gloves and camouflage T-shirts for six service members he’s sponsoring in Donetsk. “Therefore, not everyone has everything.”

Ukraine’s loudest pleas to its allies have been for fighter jets, air defense systems and long-range weapons to defend itself. The United States and its allies have answered many of those calls by providing billions of dollars worth of rockets, tanks, drones and artillery.

Yet, as Russia’s war approaches the six-month mark, Ukraine is also burning through its stores of necessities that most modern militaries take for granted. Now, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukrainian troops and their supporters are seeking out creative solutions to crowdsource their way through the war.

Mykhailo Podolyak, a top adviser to Zelenskyy, told NBC News that Ukraine’s military needs continual resupplies from allies of food, first-aid kits, vehicles, protective equipment, small arms and ammunition. At the height of Russia’s offensive, he said, it was firing up to 60,000 rounds of ammunition per day, forcing Ukraine to respond in turn.

“The societies in certain partner countries do not fully understand the level of intensity of the war in Ukraine,” he said in an interview at the presidential offices in Kyiv. “This is a massive war; it is not just a minor regional conflict.”

Part of the challenge in keeping Ukraine’s forces supplied is the growing number of people participating in the fight.

In the run-up to the war, Ukraine’s armed forces comprised just under 200,000 active-duty troops, according to a report from the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a London-based security think tank. Russia had more than four times that number, it said.

Just hours after Russia invaded Feb. 24, Zelenskyy signed a decree ordering a “general mobilization” of the public, recently extended by Ukraine’s Parliament until November. Since then, hundreds of thousands of reservists, members of Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces and others have joined the battle.

“There’s also police, and National Guard are also (serving) in the front,” said Yevheniya Kravchuk, a member of Parliament whose husband is in the national police force. “They basically have needs the same as our military.”


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