TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — President Joe Biden made an unannounced visit to Ukraine’s Capital, Kyiv, Monday vowing unwavering support to the country’s war-torn nation. The President’s visit comes as Russia’s invasion enters its second year this week.
Tuscaloosa native Alex Drueke spent over 100 days in Russian captivity during his efforts to help Ukraine last year. He said the biggest thing they need to keep fighting is artillery ammunition.
“We’re supporting Ukraine, but only enough so they don’t lose,” Drueke said.
Drueke keeps tabs on military efforts in Ukraine. He said the country uses about 2,000 to 5,000 shells of ammunition each day and the United States provides about 500 daily. Drueke said Biden’s visit is an important step forward for the fight.
“I think it’s long overdue, really, I think it’s wonderful that he’s showing support for Ukraine, actively showing support for Ukraine,” Drueke said. “They still need a lot of support; they need a lot of help and I’m hoping that President Biden going over there he’ll be able to come back and talk to our congressmen and senators and drum up additional support.”
When Russia invaded on February 24 last year, Drueke knew he needed to help.
“Nobody thought this was going to take this long – I mean the Russians thought it was going to take three days,” Drueke said. “Before I went over, I had a pretty good feeling Ukraine was going to fall after a week or two.”
This has not been the case though as Ukraine has not backed down from its efforts to fight.
“We hope that this year, 2023, will become a year of victory in this unprovoked and criminal Russia’s war against Ukraine,” Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said during Biden’s visit.
Drueke said Ukraine’s motivations to continue fighting are why it will not lose.
“As long as they’re given the tools, they’re going to win, I promise you that, but we have to give them the tools,” Drueke said.
The two best ways Drueke said you can show support is by continuing to reach out to your representatives and to send donations to United24, a transparent, Ukrainian-led fundraiser where you determine exactly where your funds go – either to war or relief efforts.
Drueke said he plans to attend two rallies this weekend marking the anniversary of Russia’s invasion — one will be at Birmingham’s Railroad Park starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday and the other in Huntsville on Sunday.