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Hogan announces aid package for Odesa, Ukraine

“These actions are symbolic ways for us to send a loud and clear message to Russia that here in Maryland we stand on the side of peace and freedom,” says Gov. Larry Hogan, shown at a 2021 event. (The Daily Record/Bryan Sears)

Bandages, body armor and breathing equipment are on the way from Maryland to a besieged Ukrainian port city.

Gov. Larry Hogan announced the shipment, part of a $7 million effort that will arrive in the port city of Odesa — a sister city to Baltimore — in the coming days. It is the second such shipment  announced by Hogan since March.

The aid announcement Tuesday follow other moves by Hogan that included divesting the state of investments in Russia as well as terminating sister state agreements with regions of the country.

“These actions are symbolic ways for us to send a loud and clear message to Russia that here in Maryland we stand on the side of peace and freedom,” said Hogan, standing in front of boxes of supplies staged in a state health department warehouse in Hanover. “Today we’re sending an even more stronger and powerful message. One that potentially can help save lives.”

Hogan said Odesa Mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov told him during a teleconference that the city’s “No. 1 need was medical supplies . We’re trying to do our part to help in that regard.”

The shipment, more than 170 pallets, is enough to fill a cargo plane.

Hogan said the shipment will include nearly 500,000 bandages and wound care supplies. The effort also includes other materials, including 195 ventilators, some for hospital intensive care units as well as some for children.

Hogan said the Maryland State Police is also sending “hundreds of pieces of body armor, including tactical vests and shields.” A spokesman for the governor said the equipment sent by the State Police was previously used. 

Yaroslav Brisiuck, deputy chief of mission for the Embassy of Ukraine, said Odesa remains under siege. Its port is unable to export shipments of grains and other goods. On Monday, the city was hit by seven Russian cruise missiles.

“All this assistance, all these items, will help to save our lives,” Brisiuck said.

The ventilators are part of a shipment that will leave the United States for Poland tomorrow. Other supplies will arrive in Odesa “in the coming days,” said Hogan.

It is unclear if any of the ventilators earmarked for Ukraine were part of shipments sent to the state during the pandemic. Maryland received hundreds of units in 2020 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as part of the COVID-19 response.

A Hogan spokesman said the state has “a little over 1,900 ventilators now on hand, including some that are on loan with training partners.”

He said the supply is sufficient should a resurgence in the virus increase the need in hospitals. 

Logistics for the shipments is being handled through a partnership between the Maryland Department of General Services and United Help Ukraine, a humanitarian aid organization.

The aid package is the second sent to Ukraine this spring. Hogan announced a shipment of 50 Astral portable ventilators in March.

Those supplies were part of a shipment made through the Paul Chester Children’s Hope Foundation. The Dickerson, Maryland-based nonprofit provides medical aid to developing countries, including for children and adults wounded during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.