Group of Tampa veterans to begin evacuating Americans from Ukraine

The group that evacuated thousands of people out of Afghanistan is now ready to help evacuate Americans after drawing up evacuation plans.

TAMPA, Fla. — As tensions rise in Ukraine, many are preparing at any moment for an attack from Russia, including a group from the Tampa Bay area.

Project momentum, a veteran group from Tampa, has been in Ukraine for over a week laying on the ground to get US citizens out of the country should an invasion occur. Things were stable, but in the end everything changed on Monday night.

“It’s definitely surreal. There’s tension in the streets,” said Bryan Stern, the band’s co-founder.

As Russia enters Ukraine, people began to feel uneasy. The group that evacuated thousands of people out of Afghanistan is now ready to help evacuate Americans after drawing up evacuation plans.

“We found sanctuaries. We built human networks,” Stern said. “We have learned lessons from all the evacuations we have carried out in Afghanistan and we are applying those lessons to the Ukrainian problem.”

The danger has not yet reached them in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, but it is imminent.

“We’re a 40-minute helicopter flight from the northern armed gunships, the Russian Navy is at sea. They can be here in a few hours. I mean, Russian paratroopers could parachute into Kyiv in 20 minutes” , Stern said. noted.

Stern says the country is being held hostage and things have already turned violent. The Americans have not yet been evacuated, but dozens are beginning to call for help, trying to avoid the Russian military.

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“If they want to take over Kiev, the first thing the Russians are going to do is kill the cell phones and cut the power,” Stern said. “Now it’s dark, it’s cold and you don’t have Google Maps. You can’t text anyone and it’s scary. Without doing anything, not a single shot. Within a minute, the life is changing for just about everyone here. This panic will turn into a whole circus of chaos.

Flights to and from Kyiv have been canceled. Stern was due to be on a flight to Poland on Tuesday. He is now one of many Americans stranded in the country, but he is not yet worried. The real work to get Americans out of Ukraine begins now.

If you or someone you know is a US citizen and needs to be evacuated from Ukraine, you can contact Project Dynamo here. The group is a non-profit organization and all donations will help them continue to evacuate people.

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