US Army veteran traveling to Ukraine to help country’s military: ‘I don’t like what’s going on’
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Matthew Parker, a 20-year U.S. Army veteran, heads to Ukraine to help the country’s army in every possible way in its fight against Russian armed forces.
Parker, who owns a protective services training company called Independent Security Advisors, LLC, plans to travel to Poland in the coming days and coordinate with his contacts there to help him cross the border into the Ukraine.
“I don’t like what’s happening on the ground there. And I’ve seen what happens when civilians are caught in the middle of a war, and I’ve found that the Russians tend – when they can’t win — basically burning bridges,” Parker told Fox News Digital.
The father of four adult children, in his 50s, added that he had become close to a Ukrainian soldier who served under him for about a year and a half when he was in the army. This soldier still has family in Ukraine, including a disabled sister, which Parker says is part of the inspiration behind his decision to offer help there.
Parker intended to leave about a week ago, but delayed his departure after receiving an influx of requests from other American and foreign volunteers – many of whom have military or first responder backgrounds – who want his help. goes to Ukraine.
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Some volunteers are young men who have been out of the military for two to 10 years, Parker said.
“When you’ve been to Iraq or Afghanistan, or like me, you’ve been to Bosnia, and you see the carnage and the tragedy of war, you don’t turn it off,” he explained.
“Now, before anybody… nobody says, ‘Oh, it’s PTSD. No, it’s not PTSD. This is called memory. And when you see starving women and children, their homes destroyed – when you stand on the edge of a mass grave and look down…it’s the same anger. It is the same ignorance. It’s the same thing. lack of human compassion that the Russians are showing right now as they bomb those cities. As they bomb the hospitals.
His company does executive and diplomatic protection work, so Parker has experience deploying training teams and agents to countries around the world, such as FOX 5 Atlanta reported for the first time.
“So I took that experience and got these young men together and said, ‘Look, you need a will, a lawyer. If you own something, it must be stored. You can’t just leave your car at the airport,” Parker explained.
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He also helps volunteers gather the appropriate equipment for the cold and snowy weather conditions in Ukraine and contact the International Territorial Defense Legion of Ukraine to inform them of the arrival of the volunteers and their skills.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy created the International Legion days after the Russian invasion on February 24 and lifted visa restrictions for foreign volunteers.
“Anyone who wants to join the defense of Ukraine, Europe and the world can come and fight alongside Ukrainians against Russian war criminals,” said a February 27 press release of his office states.
Parker has contacts in Poland and Ukraine who offer voluntary rides from the airport, a place to stay overnight, and rides across the Ukrainian border. Once inside Ukraine, volunteers register with the International Legion and hopes to be assigned to specific groups based on their skills.
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“Now they can totally ignore everything [a volunteer] get there. You know, he could be a highly skilled electronics repairman. They could hand him a gun and say, “Go keep a bridge,” Parker said. “It’s so new, and they’re under such pressure. The fact that they are able to hold the Legion together is amazing.”
Parker says his four children weren’t surprised when he told them about his plans.
“The boys were used to me being in Iraq, and the fact that it’s not Iraq and it’s not the army sending me… They all said the same thing. One: ‘We knew you were going to,’ but, two, ‘We trust you,'” he said.
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Ukraine has been under attack for 15 days. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, around 2.3 million people have fled Ukraine so far.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights estimates that 549 Ukrainians were killed on Thursday and nearly a thousand more have been injured since the Russian invasion began on February 24.