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‘They don’t want peace, at this point they want victory’ - Iowa native discusses visit to Ukraine

Workers process and organize supplies meant for those in need.
Workers process and organize supplies meant for those in need.(Eric Christensen)
Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 11:03 AM CDT
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Eric Christensen is the City Administrator for North Sioux City, and this month he stepped away from his duties and made the long journey to the war-stricken country of Ukraine to lend a helping hand.

“There’s a level of patriotism that they’ve got, and a level of commitment they have to this thing, and I don’t know how we can relate to it in this country,” said Christensen.

On April 9, Sioux City native Eric Christensen flew to Poland’s capital city of Warsaw. From there, he jumped onto a train that took him to the Poland-Ukrainian border.

His final destination? Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.

“We actually had to take all of our bags from the last train station in Poland, which was Dorohusk, and we had to walk 3 miles in the middle of the night to the Ukrainian, Polish checkpoint across the border,” said Christensen.

After a 24-hour train ride, Christensen finally arrived in Zaporizhzhia with active combat just a few miles away.

“We had between three and four air-raid sirens a day, and it would go off. It kind of made you a little jumpy to start then after a while you didn’t jump as much,” said Christensen.

While in Zaporizhzhia, Christensen met an optometrist that turned the warehouse his business was located in, into a Refugee Distribution Center.

“He had taken one floor, and he was taking in supplies, anything that would be donated by the general public. Then upstairs, on the second floor was a charity called Caritas, they would distribute food and household items,” said Christiansen.

While in Ukraine, he also visited a military medical training facility where the Ukrainian military was training civilians for combat.

“Most of these people taking the class were kids, they were high school, college kids looking for ways to help,” said Christensen.

Christensen said there is one message the people of Ukraine all stood behind.

“They don’t want peace, at this point they want victory, they are willing to fight, and you hear people say, all we want is the weapons, and we will kill the Russians just send the weapons, and they are all that way, just all of them” said Christensen.

Christensen says the most important thing Americans can do is find ways to donate. He says he looks forward to revisiting with the people he met once the war is over.

This medical training facility was where Ukrainian military were training civilians for combat.
This medical training facility was where Ukrainian military were training civilians for combat.(Eric Christensen)
This workstation is where Christensen and several others worked to get medical supplies for...
This workstation is where Christensen and several others worked to get medical supplies for those in need.(Eric Christensen)
Workers in Ukraine make bulletproof vests for the war effort.
Workers in Ukraine make bulletproof vests for the war effort.(Eric Christensen)
Volunteers made a field kitchen outside the warehouse to workers could get some food.
Volunteers made a field kitchen outside the warehouse to workers could get some food.(Eric Christensen)
This is outside the abandoned warehouse where workers are making bulletproof vests armor plates.
This is outside the abandoned warehouse where workers are making bulletproof vests armor plates.(Eric Christensen)

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