Student fundraiser begins for Ukrainian paramedic group

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The Slavic Cultural Society, in cooperation with the Ukrainian Student Association at the University of Connecticut, is holding a fundraiser for a paramedic unit operating in Ukraine by selling pins of the Ukrainian flag colors.

“They’re called the Hospitallers,” said Robert Miller, a sixth-semester molecular and cellular biology major and the president of the SCS, in an in-person interview. “They’re a small group of about 40 trained paramedics who have provided first aid to Ukrainian soldiers and civilians since 2014.” 

The SCS and USA are selling the pins in the Student Union, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day until Friday, March 11. They have raised approximately $850 on Monday alone, by Miller’s estimates. 

The Hospitallers have been recognized frequently in Ukraine and internationally for their service in saving lives. According to the Kyiv Post, founder of the Hospitallers Yana Zinkevych was a 19 year old medical student in Ukraine when fighting began in the Donbass, a region in eastern Ukraine as pro-Russian rebels rose up in 2014. 

“She decided to go to the front and founded the Hospitallery medical volunteer battalion, which has become part of the DUC (Volunteer Ukrainian Corps) – a fighting unit created by the Right Sector organization,” said the Kyiv Post. 

Miller emphasized the growing need for the Hospitallers not only to have more medical supplies but also for training of new members as the Russian invasion of Ukraine intensifies. 

Yana has earned the Ukrainian Order of Merit, an award given for exemplary civilian or military service, considered equal to the American Legion of Merit, according to the Kyiv Post. 

“Now 24 and in a wheelchair, Zinkevych has been elected to the Ukrainian Parliament and serves on the committees of health and veterans affairs,” the Wesleyan Connection said when Zinkevych and other Ukrainian veterans visited Wesleyan University in March 2020. 

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