Santa Barbara County continues to support nation; local church raises more than $100,000
Ukraine flags were seen this week on the overpasses above Highway 101 in Goleta as Santa Barbara County continues to stand with Ukraine.
Local groups have raised money for aid, which includes, as of Tuesday, more than $100,000 raised by the First Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Church of Santa Barbara.
“A lot of people have donated,” Pastor Michael Smiyun told the News-Press Tuesday.
Pastor Smiyun said the money is going mostly for food and clothing for Ukrainians inside Ukraine, but noted an effort is under way to deliver some medical supplies as well. He said those supplies would include N95 masks.
The pastor also explained that his church was working with churches in Ukraine to get aid to Ukrainians.
The efforts to help Ukraine are continuing as the world watches heartbreaking images from the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, where Russian troops have left bodies of civilians scattered on the streets.
President Joe Biden and leaders of European nations have described the acts as war crimes.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the Russian troops for killing civilians, slashing throats and killing and raping women in front of their children. He made his comments during a video conferencing before the United Nations Security Council and urged the council to live up to its mandate of ensuring security and peace.
President Zelensky has described the Russian atrocities as genocide.
During the more-than-month-long invasion, at least 1,480 civilians were killed in Ukraine and at least 2,195 civilians were injured, a U.N. official said.
And on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, emphasized the strong partnership between the California National Guard and the Ukrainian military during a House Armed Services Committee hearing. The congressman, who’s a member of the committee, pointed specifically to the history of training exercises at Camp Roberts in San Luis Obispo County.
Answering questions from Rep. Carbajal, Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, testified before the committee about how the partnership has helped Ukrainian forces in fighting the Russian troops.
“Over eight years, the Ukrainian military’s reformed itself,” said Gen. Milley. “(They’ve) developed a non-commissioned officer corps, and adopted the U.S. doctrinal concept of mission command–decentralized decision-making at the lowest level that’s effective at making that decision. And that’s a direct result of the efforts of the California National Guard and what they’ve done with Ukraine.”
On Monday, President Biden said the U.S. would impose more sanctions on Russia, and his aides announced America would support a multinational team of investigators, collecting evidence of Russian atrocities.
The U.S. government is also planning to favor the suspension of Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council.