Ukrainian activist speaks to Norway Today: “Ukrainians are protecting Europe from invasion”

Pro-Ukrainian people wave Ukrainian flags during a protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Istanbul, Turkey, Monday, Feb. 28, 2022. Photo: AP Photo/Francisco Seco

The Russian aggression on Ukraine continues. In the night between Monday and Tuesday, Russian forces attacked targets in the center of Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv, but no casualties were reported as of the time of writing.

According to the BBC, the target of the attack was a public building of the regional administration. The attack was captured on video, and a rocket can be seen hitting the front of the building. The recording shows a powerful explosion and burnt-out cars in the street outside.

Kharkiv, with its 1.6 million inhabitants, is Ukraine’s second-largest city and has been the subject of airstrikes and fierce fighting between Russian attackers and Ukrainian government forces in recent days.

Russia’s advance against the capital Kyiv has continued through the night. Ukrainian authorities also report that attacks have been launched against the city of Kherson in the south of the country.

As the invasion continues, multiple organizations and private citizens are looking to support Ukraine and Ukrainians in their defense against a militarily superior power. 

Mykola Blohkin, a 32-year-old Ukrainian web designer who spent the last nine years studying and working in Norway, decided to pack his bags and travel to Krakow, Poland, in order to support the Ukrainian cause. Norway Today spoke to Mr. Blokhin at 7 AM Norwegian time on Tuesday.

+ + +

NT: Can you shortly introduce yourself?

“My name is Mykola Blokhin, and I’m a Ukrainian national. I moved to Norway in 2014, and I’m married to a Norwegian citizen. I work as a web designer for a company in Haugesund.

NT: You’re very active in supporting the Ukrainian resistance and Ukrainian refugees. What does your day-to-day life look like these days?

“After the war started, I traveled from Norway to Krakow. Here, we are organizing people and ensuring that the Ukrainian resistance gets more support. Due to the nature of my work, I know how to find stuff on the Internet. I speak Ukrainian, Russian, English, Norwegian, and understand Swedish, Polish, and Danish. This helps me a lot when it comes to finding supplies because I can get in contact with a lot of people looking for ways to support Ukraine. 

“We’re supplying the fighters, organizing volunteers, and managing the logistics of getting support from Poland to Kyiv. We have channels for getting stuff and delivering it to the people who are fighting.

“My wife is getting support from Norwegians – donations and other supplies. A lot of people are donating, and she is in touch with Norwegian volunteers who want to help out.

“We make sure these supplies are delivered. We have a team of Polish and Ukrainian volunteers in Krakow doing a lot of work and delivering these vests. My Ukrainian friend, Anna Mishchenko, is responsible for the Polish volunteer group. She provided a place for volunteers to work and stay – Sztuka Room – that’s our center of operations. 

“I’d like to accentuate that the volunteers are spending their own money for this cause, paying for everything out of their own pockets and not asking for anything in return.

A group of volunteers in Krakow at work. Photo: Mykola Blokhin, Krakow volunteers

NT: What are you looking for – what does the resistance in Ukraine need at the moment?

“Military-grade thermal image cameras (they’re quite expensive, around EUR 3000 apiece, roughly NOK 30,000) – we’ve collected money for three such cameras already, and we’re buying them today. One will be financed by the Ukrainian community in Bergen. We’re also looking for bulletproof vests (lv. 4 that can withstand AK47). 

“With the orders we have placed, which are still being processed, we’re looking to send supplies worth around EUR 80,000 to the Ukrainian resistance. 

A batch of protective vests that the volunteer organization has secured and delivered to Ukraine. Photo: Mykola Blokhin, Krakow volunteers

NT: How do you support Ukrainian refugees?

“We have managed to get several Ukrainian refugees to Poland and Norway. I spent several days waiting for my own family (a pregnant woman, a 16-year-old boy, and a 7-year-old girl); they spent three days crossing the border.

“We’re also organizing the logistics of getting two more Ukrainian women in their 40s safely to Norway these days and working on helping more people. 

“A Norwegian family drove to Krakow and picked up several refugees in need of help. They also collected our order of protective vests (level 4) worth EUR 6,500 in Denmark and drove it here to Krakow.

“As I’ve said before, the Polish group of volunteers led by Anna Mishchenko is very active. Anna’s husband travels a lot to get people to Krakow; he’s traveling back and forth, covering several thousand kilometers every day. Many people take time off work – they’re not getting paid. They’re using their time and resources to help Ukraine. 

A Norwegian family drove to Krakow by car and delivered protective equipment to the volunteer organization. Photo: Mykola Blokhin, Krakow volunteers

NT: You have been vocal on social media and organizing support for the Ukrainian side. How was the response so far?

“I never thought the response would be so positive and strong. We’re finding new connections through social media and reaching people willing to donate. We’re also in contact with Norwegians that are fighting in Ukraine, for example, in my hometown, Bila Tserkva. 

NT: You met the current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj in Bergen a few years ago – before he was elected to office. Can you describe the encounter and your impressions?

“I was studying at the NHH in Bergen at the time and had a part-time job at the Fish Market in Bergen (Fisketorget). One day, I was working in the kitchen – it was an open kitchen – when I heard him talking… He has a very recognizable voice. When I heard his voice, I started looking around, and then I spotted him. I approached him and asked him if he needed help. He was accompanied by a tour guide. We took a picture together and had a nice conversation. He was pleasant and polite, and it was a nice experience. He was a comedian at the time. 

Mr. Blohkin met (current Ukrainian President) Volodymyr Zelenskyj in 2017. Photo: Mykola Blokhin

NT: What are your hopes for the future?

“We will gladly go home and rest when the Ukrainian people are safe, when the war is over… The volunteers don’t eat or sleep much these days, and we spend all our time helping Ukrainian refugees and fighters. We hope it will be over soon and that Putin will not use nuclear weapons. 

NT: Do you have a message you would like to share with the Norwegian public and authorities?

“I do. Ukrainians are protecting the whole of Europe from invasion. We (editor’s note: the volunteers) are trying to help them as much as we can from Krakow. Please consider helping us to help them. Every small action leads to big achievements,” Blokhin told Norway Today.

+ + +

The volunteer group mentioned in the article can be contacted via social media. Mr. Blokhin is the contact for Krakow and Europe (link to Facebook profile), his wife is the contact for Norway (link to Facebook profile), and Ms. Mishchenko is the contact for Poland (link to Facebook profile).  

Source: #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

Do you have a news tip for Norway Today? We want to hear it. Get in touch at [email protected]

1 Comment on "Ukrainian activist speaks to Norway Today: “Ukrainians are protecting Europe from invasion”"

  1. Nonsense.
    What the Russians are fighting/invading for is to protect *themselves* from a(nother) NATO/Western regime-change invasion like Libya. There have already been regime-change attempts against Russia by Navalny and friends in Siberia, against Belarus, and most recently against border/buffer state Kazakhstan. The Russians are not about to trust anymore of our bogus verbal promises.
    Without the treaty they need which Biden and his neocons refused to give them … and after our past broken security promises to them and our neocon-engineered 2014 Kiev coup … we left them with no option *except* to go to war … as was our plan.
    Political machine Joe Biden is using this to try to get the Democrat dictatorship in America he, John McCain, and Joe Lieberman tried to get in 1999 just using our wrongful (Rambouillet Appendix B) Kosovo bombing war as the pretext – voted down then by the Senate 78-22.
    Defeating Russia will return the West to planetary hegemony to deal with China – the World War 2 strategy of Europe before Asia.
    And Joe and our neocons are deluding themselves thinking they can control this war, and/or America is far enough away they won’t be in danger … which is completely wrong. This is not 1941, and strategic weapons are even more powerful and instantaneous than in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 when I was a junior in high school and we very nearly did have a nuclear holocaust then, except for a Soviet/Russian missile submarine commander who refused his orders.

    So Mykola should instead be urging his friend Volodymyr to accept a peace treaty with the Russians, before they (now even more desperately) start using their thermobarbaric and nuclear weapons of mass destruction.
    The West has backed the Russians into a corner, they CANNOT lose this war, and they will fight it to the finish at all costs – including a nuclear world war for which our loved ones here in the West are *criminally* unprepared – barring an internal coup which is *extremely* unlikely.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.