FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, a local transportation company is helping with humanitarian and medical aid to assist the war-torn country.
For nearly the last month, Vasiliy Schablevskiy, owner of Meest Washington, has been stepping up to help his country in this time of need.
"We will do everything possible to get medical supplies out as soon as we can," Schablevskiy said.
Meest, which means bridge, is a vision his father started in 1989 – to bridge the U.S. with other countries like Ukraine and Europe.
Today, it's a vital mode of transportation as more than 100,000 pounds of aid have left for Ukraine via air and sea, the majority paid for out of his pocket.
"This is our fourth one [shipment] that's going out on cargo flights and this is a third sea container that we have loaded in the past three weeks," Schablevskiy explained as he walked the shipment yard.
Military and medical gear are desperately needed in Ukraine.
Schablevskiy said donations have continuously poured from the community, including several hospitals like St. Joseph and UW Medical Center.
"We're trying to do everything, as much we can to help and we really hope this war will stop soon," Schablevskiy said.
Even though volunteers lined up to load shipping containers stuffed to the brim and several containers were shipped out already, Schablevskiy said it isn't enough, since there continues to be calls for help.
"Right now, a lot of volunteers are calling and asking for bulletproof vests because they go to the hotspots and the Russians just shoot down cars… they shoot them down," Schablevskiy said. "So the volunteers are what we need to protect. They’re the ones who are delivering the supplies there."
As the fear grows nationally for supplies to be intercepted in route, Schablevskiy said Washington’s efforts to help are making it to the hands of those who need it most.
"Everything we are sending-- it's already got there, and there's more underway," Schablevskiy said.
As he readies another shipment, he said this is just the beginning.
"The aid is going to be needed for many years to come because it will take a long time for the people of Ukraine to rebuild everything that was lost," Schablevskiy said.
A need Schablevskiy said he will keep supporting, despite the financial hardships.
"We don't want to stop. We'll be going as much as we can, and I'm pretty sure one way or the other will kind of help, and we'll just keep on going," Schablevskiy said.
As the donations keep coming, the transportation company said they will rush the aid to Ukraine, with their next shipment scheduled to leave Wednesday.
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