B.C. municipalities gather firefighting supplies, raise money for Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy examines the site of a recent battle, in Bucha close to Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Apr. 4, 2022. Russia is facing a fresh wave of condemnation after evidence emerged of what appeared to be deliberate killings of civilians in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

New evidence of atrocities in Ukraine is igniting global condemnation.

“We have to get all the details so we can actually have a war crimes trial. This guy is brutal,” American President Joe Biden told reporters Monday, referencing reports of mass killings in Bucha near Kiev.

Ukrainian President Volodamir Zelensky is calling it genocide. The mayor of the town of Bucha says more than 300 civilians were found dead after Russian forces pulled out.

“They were indiscriminately killed by the Russian occupiers, a lot of them are elderly people,” said Anatoly Fedoruk, the mayor of Bucha, Ukraine to NBC News.

Moscow denies it, despite video showing bodies in the street.

On Vancouver Island, local leaders are denouncing the atrocities.

“From a monster like Putin, who is a war criminal. People need to say that more,” said Langford Mayor Stew Young. “This shouldn’t be happening in this day and age.”

And the City of Langford is putting money, where its mouth is ⁠— creating a committee with the goal of raising $50,000 to go towards the Canadian Red Cross and to also help out when Ukrainian families arrive in their community.

“Please consider donating today because you can make a difference in the lives of the Ukrainian families as they endure the effects of this unjust war. You can help,” said Langford Fire Chief Cris Aubrey.

The call for help is also being answered, elsewhere.

“As I’m talking to him on the phone, I can hear the bombs going off in the background,” said Al Siebring, mayor of North Cowichan, as he remembers the phone call from a friend of Ukrainian background who was volunteering from Odessa.

“He says the big problem here is that the volunteer fire department doesn’t have enough basic supplies. They need boots and helmets and that kind of thing. Can North Cowichan help out?” said Siebring.

The mayor did one better ⁠— and put the call out to mayors across the province.

“Lisa Helps reached out to me about an hour ago and said Victoria Fire Department is, the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District, Comox Valley, Central Coast District…and Fort St. John and Kamloops are looking within their departments to see what they have.”

Right now, those municipalities are taking stock of their inventory.

Any and all donations will head to a safe house in Krakow, Poland before heading over the border, where now some Ukrainian refugees are taking the chance of the retreating Russian army, to go back to their homes.

“How you say, the heart is in Ukraine, that’s why we want to go home,” one refugee told NBC News.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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