Utah veteran: Some Ukrainians returning home, angered by wartime atrocities

Apr 5, 2022, 6:31 PM | Updated: Jun 11, 2022, 11:23 pm

A U.S. Marine veteran from Kaysville says Ukrainians are angered and saddened by the atrocities committed by Russian troops.

Quan Nguyen has been helping refugees escape the war for nearly a month. Now, he said, some Ukrainians are heading back home.

“It’s only a matter of time that Kyiv proper and surrounding areas will be cleared of Russian troops,” Nguyen said, citing changes he has seen in the past week in Kyiv. “There are still Russian troops outside of Kyiv, but not many.”

For about a month, Nguyen and other volunteers with TF824.org have helped with whatever needed to be done between Kyiv and the western border. They’ve helped several dozen families escape, but, he said, some are returning home to discover wartime atrocities.

“The Ukrainians are upset, and so am I, and so should everybody be,” he said during a video interview from Kyiv.

Nguyen said the Ukrainians are stunned and upset by atrocities committed by the Russian troops.

“The murder of people, hands tied behind their backs. The shelling of hospitals,” he said.

Nguyen described that it is hard for the Ukrainian people to comprehend what has happened to their homeland.

“They are reacting just like anybody would: anger, shock, disbelief, sadness. I mean, I saw that and I came close to breaking down in tears.”

Nguyen uses money donated by Utahns to purchase groceries for families in need. He also recently helped transport a 4-year-old boy with war wounds from Kyiv to the Children’s Hospital in Lviv.

“They cannot afford to have any medics in the ambulance,” he said.

So, Nguyen volunteered for the 10-hour ambulance drive. But, most of his time is focused on finding critical medical supplies and a negative-pressure wound therapy machine.

“This is something that is literally life-saving. So, I’ve been fundraising, trying to source these machines,” he said.

It’s a $3,000 machine, and he may be able to get one in Poland. Meantime, he said, the Ukrainian army is retaking territory around the capital.

“The locals… it seems like they’re trying to get back to normal,” he said. “Schools are reopening in Kyiv.“

They still hear air raid sirens from time to time, and it is too early to tell whether the Ukrainians have turned a corner in this war. But, right now, he expects more Ukrainians to return.

“That’s the amazing thing that I feel about the Ukrainians is that they just want to rebuild as quickly as possible, and whatever we can do, we will do it,” Nguyen said.

TF824 is their organization. It stands for Task Force 824. August 24 is Ukrainian Independence Day.
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Utah veteran: Some Ukrainians returning home, angered by wartime atrocities