Civilian and veteran volunteers launch evacuation operation in Ukraine: ‘Never leave an American behind’

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Civilians and veterans are reportedly once more having to undertake what should be the government’s job of rescuing U.S. citizens from disintegrating countries.

Leading the efforts again is Project Dynamo, a Tampa-based nonprofit that first made headlines when its members rushed to Afghanistan last fall to save the Americans whom the Biden administration had abandoned.

In a statement made Thursday to Tampa station WTSP, spokesperson James Judge said that the group kicked into high gear the moment Russia invaded Ukraine.

“The evacuation began minutes after our team on the ground physically felt the nearby explosions in Kyiv last night,” he said.

“Right now, our team is working to get the first group of nearly two dozen American citizens and residents out of Ukraine. They are currently traversing the Ukrainian countryside and trying to make their way to an American embassy in a neighboring country.”

The group started “inserting” team members into Ukraine when it became clear that President Joe Biden intended to treat the Americans in Ukraine just like he’d treated the Americans in Afghanistan.

“Project Dynamo began inserting team members into Ukraine to begin planning for rescue operations of Americans after the Biden administration made it clear that the U.S. government would not be coming to help American citizens stuck in the region,” according to Judge. “Our mindset is never leave an American behind.”

“This is what Dynamo does and does better than anyone else. They get Americans out of harm’s way, and we have been watching it play out today in real-time. It is not without risk, however, and we are praying they will successfully make it safely out of the country in the next few hours.”

The operation has been a couple of months in the planning.

“While the evacuation from Afghanistan is ongoing, Project Dynamo started planning to help Americans in Ukraine last year when rumblings of a Russian invasion began,” according to Fox News, which also spoke with Judge.

The team is comprised entirely of volunteers, but volunteers who for the most part “have years of experience in special operations and intelligence-gathering,” according to WTSP.

The team’s funded meanwhile by donors.

“It’s highly important to note, that besides our courageous volunteers, none of this would be possible without the financial sacrifices made by our very generous donors,” according to a statement from Project Dynamo co-co-founder Bryan Stern.

To donate to the team or make a rescue request, check out their website.

News of Project Dynamo’s much-needed work comes as congressional Republicans are sounding the alarm over the Biden administration’s refusal to get involved.

In a letter submitted earlier this week to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty demanded to know the administration’s “plan to protect U.S. citizens and facilitate the evacuation of American citizens from Ukraine during a Russian invasion.”

“What are the Biden Administration’s plans to evacuate U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents if they remain in parts of Ukraine occupied by the Russian military? The State Department currently reports as many as 23,000 Americans reside in Ukraine. To the Department’s knowledge, how many U.S. citizens have been safely evacuated from Ukraine?” they added.

The administration is already under fire for its failures in Afghanistan, where Americans reportedly still remain trapped. Speaking of which, Project Dynamo is still operational in Afghanistan as well.

“Project DYNAMO is performing rescue operations without State Department help months after the U.S. ended its two-decades-long war,” Tampa station WFLA reported earlier this very month.

“I am a patriot and I’ve been in service my entire adult life. Never in 100 years did I think we’d be talking about rescuing Americans five months later,” Stern told the station.

Project Dynamo is, according to Stern, the last hope for Americans and Green Card holders trapped in Afghanistan.

“So long as there are Americans trapped in Afghanistan and his organization has the money, Stern said he will find a way to rescue them,” according to WFLA.

“I will figure it out. Afghanistan is a landlocked country. If it wasn’t, I’d be using rowboats and Carnival Cruise Lines,” Stern said.


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Vivek Saxena


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