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US logistics companies leverage expertise to speed aid to Ukraine

FreightWaves checks in with relief efforts in wake of Russian invasion

Refugees wait in line at Ukraine-Poland border. Photo: Bogdan Golosinskiy, co-owner of Safe Way Carrier in Strafford, Missouri.

As more than 2 million Ukrainians have fled their country in the past 13 days since Russia launched a military invasion, several U.S.-based trucking and logistics companies have donated money, while others have raced to the region to provide direct humanitarian relief to refugees.

Bogdan Golosinskiy and his brothers-in-law, Vladimir Loboda, a co-owner of Safe Way Carrier in Strafford, Missouri, and George Martinov, a real estate agent in the Springfield, Missouri area, spent nine days at the Ukraine-Poland border. The men gave humanitarian assistance to shell-shocked refugees crossing the border in the wake of Russian bombing. 

“It’s so emotional talking to people and hearing their stories,” Golosinskiy told FreightWaves. “I talked to two ladies with their kids who were fleeing Kyiv to Poland. They were on a train for 34 hours. As soon as their train left Kyiv, the bombing started and the lights were turned off and they had to lay on the floor of the train with their children for a couple of hours before it started again and kept going to Poland.”

Bogdan Golosinskiy, co-owner of Strafford, Missouri-based Safe Way Carrier, documents Ukrainian refugees as they enter Poland.

Golosinskiy, Loboda and Martinov have been working with Convoy of Hope, a faith-based nonprofit organization headquartered in Springfield, to secure a warehouse in Poland to store humanitarian supplies for refugees in Poland and Ukraine. 

“It’s heartbreaking,” Golosinskiy told FreightWaves. “I have a wife and four kids and to realize that my wife could have been one of those women fleeing Ukraine is very emotional.”

When he was 9, Golosinskiy, along with his parents and seven siblings, left Ukraine after his family was offered asylum in the U.S. in 1992, following the collapse of the Soviet Union a year earlier. 

Bogdan Golosinskiy, co-owner of Strafford, Missouri-based Safe Way Carrier, documents humanitarian efforts as Ukrainian refugees enter Poland.

His dad, Nikolay Golosinskiy, was sentenced to four years of hard labor at a work camp by the former Soviet regime in 1958 for his religious beliefs. He served as the pastor of a Christian church in his hometown of Cherkasy, Ukraine, about two hours northwest of the capital city of Kyiv. Golosinskiy has six cousins who still live in Cherkasy.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, data provided by the United Nations states that nearly 1.3 million refugees have crossed the Ukraine-Poland border.

United Nations data on refugees fleeing Ukraine

At the Romanian border

More than 855,000 refugees have crossed the Ukraine-Romania border over the past 13 days, according to the UN.

Eugene Kudoiar, 31, of Chernivtsi, Ukraine, who lives about 25 miles from the Romania border, has been driving there nearly every day, along with members of his church, to help with humanitarian aid since the Russian invasion started. 

Kudoiar has worked for U.S.-based Safe Way Carrier and its sister company, Logistics Experts or LogEx, for over a year now and assists with back-office support. 

He says he’s worried about his parents, who live in the Sumy region of Ukraine, about 30 miles from the Russian border. While food and fuel were scarce in the area, the Russian military had largely left Sumy alone until a day ago when 21 people, including two children, were killed in airstrikes, according to The Guardian.

As of publication time on Wednesday, FreightWaves had not heard from Kudoiar to get an update on his parents.

Kudoiar, his wife and their 10-month-old daughter have been forced to seek shelter underground a few times as air sirens sounded in Chernivtsi, though the city thus far hasn’t been hit by Russian shelling.

Besides helping with humanitarian relief, Kudoiar continues doing some work for Safe Way and LogEx.

“I still keep working just for a couple of hours daily to complete some essential tasks when I have some time after I come back from my volunteering duties,” he said.

Though mentally and physically exhausted, Kudoiar said he’s “highly motivated to help others.”

“I want to do my best, because I know that there are soldiers who are risking their lives 24/7 now in order to protect the country,” he said. “We need to do everything we can to support the Ukrainian army, refugees and town services.” 

Eugene Kudoiar, 31, of Chernivtsi, Ukraine, heads to the Ukraine-Romania border nearly every day to help refugees. Photo: Eugene Kudoiar

In the past few days, Kudoiar said there’s been an uptick in the number of trucks arriving at the Ukraine-Romania border with humanitarian aid. The unloading process is relatively quick, he said, because of a large number of volunteers camped out at a sports arena near the border.

“Once everything is sorted, aid is getting loaded onto smaller trucks for delivery to our northern Ukrainian regions, to the capital, Kyiv,” Kudoiar said. “I am worried a lot about the current situation, but I am trying to keep optimistic thoughts.”

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Clarissa Hawes

Clarissa has covered all aspects of the trucking industry for 14 years. She is an award-winning journalist known for her investigative and business reporting. Before joining FreightWaves, she wrote for Land Line Magazine and If you have a news tip or story idea, send her an email to [email protected].