White Stork’s Spring Offensive

May 9, 2023
General Ops


It’s been over a year since Russia invaded Ukraine. During this time White Stork has continued to deliver critical aid across the frontlines. We have much to update you on, but before we get into it, we want to provide you the bottom line up front.

For the immediate future, White Stork is returning to its origins by focusing on delivering large numbers of Individual First Aid Kits (IFAKs) due to the uptick of injuries we are seeing across the frontlines. We have already delivered 24,516 IFAKS which represents over 6% of what the UA military requested at the beginning of the war. We have placed orders for 4,000 more replacement kits which will bring us to over 7%.

At the beginning of December White Stork implemented our winterization strategy to keep Ukraine powered and warm. Since then we have continued to publish updates over social media (see footer at WhiteStork.us for links, and check out our new website while you’re there). The purpose of this update is to report on our winterization plan and how our strategy has shifted with the ‘spring offensive’. First though, a general update:

  • White Stork transitioned from American to Ukrainian in-country leadership. We hired Natalka Vivcharchyn as our first Ukraine Country Director. Natalka is based in Kyiv and comes to us from the marketing world where she was a director for several large brands including Danone. We have been working closely with her and her husband since the beginning of the war, so the fit was already good. You will be seeing more of her in the field as we continue operations in Ukraine. The rest of the team, including American military veterans and volunteers, will fall under her management.
  • Russia listed our head of mission, William McNulty, as a foreign combatant. The website/link where he’s listed is here: foreigncombatants.ru. Let us be clear, White Stork is a charity that supplies Ukraine with humanitarian aid. By listing our head of mission as a foreign combatant, Russia is continuing to target aid workers. In early February, Pete Reed, a fellow Marine veteran, paid the ultimate sacrifice for his work. Pete was a frontline medic and former member of Team Rubicon. He was killed by a Russian Kornet anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) while tending to a casualty in eastern Ukraine. This type of missile is a line-of-sight weapon meaning the Russian soldier who fired it intentionally targeted Pete’s vehicle. The foreign combatant designation will not stop White Stork’s mission in Ukraine; in fact it only strengthens our resolve. The way we see it, this is a good indicator of the value Russia places on foreign support to Ukraine – and how much they want it to stop.
  • White Stork featured in Esquire magazine. Journalists from Esquire joined our team as we made deliveries across the south and east. The article can be found here. For more, see this Twitter thread for background on the 1988 Soviet emergency bandage mentioned in the article.
  • White Stork accepts cryptocurrency & stock donations. Click the menu button on our website, then select ‘Donate’ and ‘Donate by Cryptocurrency or Stock’ which will take you here.
  • White Stork is preparing for 2022 audit and tax filings. We have transitioned to a new accounting firm, Carey & Co., onboarded Expensify, and updated policies for expenses and reporting.

Winterization Report

We outlined a winterization plan in November that included supplying generators to keep Ukraine powered. Watch this short video from our warehouse in Poland. Subsequently, due to the sustained attacks on the power grid, and with the direction of Grace Kim, our cofounder & head of strategy, we decided to focus on generators versus the other supplies mentioned in the plan. White Stork delivered 114 generators ranging from 2-17 kilowatt to cities and villages mainly in southern Ukraine. Just a few examples of how these are being used:

  • We are powering a water pump in the town of Blahodante, Kherson Oblast, to deliver water to the village from a 70 meter well.
  • We are powering the only Starlink system in Shyroka Balka, a village along the Dnipro river in Kherson Oblast.
  • We are powering the home of one of the remaining families in the all-but-destroyed village of Oleksandrivka, Kherson Oblast, as they rebuild.

Our generator project was mainly funded by: the Polsky Foundation; Sara and James Star; the Crown and Goodman Family; Jeff Chambers and Andi Okamura; Jim Murphy and 125 Foundation; Bill Rinaldi; Direct Effect Action Network; and Good360. Specifically, Bill Rinaldi and Direct Effect Action Network provided the funding for two large generators (a 60kw and 125kva) to power the maternity ward of the Cherkassy Children’s Hospital (which we delivered along with our partner Project Aid & Rescue).

White Stork has ongoing partnership responsibilities with Ukrzaliznytsia (Ukrainian Railways) and Ukrposhta (Ukrainian Post Office). The railways requested 160 IFAKs and 60 field medic backpacks for their security and repair teams. Unexploded ordnance disposal is a dangerous job and rockets and other types of Russian munitions litter the rails. White Stork’s partner The Emergency Project had earlier created training videos about how to use the kits we are providing. For Ukrposhta, opening the local post office is one of the first priorities after a city is liberated. Ukrposhta teams not only deliver the mail but also process pensions. They are open despite Russian artillery and rocket attacks. These programs have been funded by Polsky Foundation, 125 Foundation, Canada Ukraine Foundation, Envision Healthcare, and BNSF Railway Foundation.

We also want to point out something that you may find interesting. We delivered 1,200 Fiskers shovels to various Territorial Defense Units (TDF) units across the southern and eastern fronts. A major request is for good shovels to dig trenches. White Stork provides both long steel shovels and tri-fold shovels (same used by U.S. Marines).

Finally, we evacuated two families, one of which we discussed in our December newsletter. The other was the family of a U.S. embassy staffer (Ukraine citizen). With support from both Polsky Foundation and Chatham Asset Management, we are providing ongoing financial support to shelters and displaced Ukrainian families.

Here’s a complete list of our deliveries between November and February.

  • 114 generators ranging from 2-17kw distributed across southern Ukraine
  • One 60kw Caterpillar generator and one 125kva JAVAC generator to the Cherkassy Children’s Hospital
  • One Scania fuel tanker truck delivered to Sumy Oblast which hauls both benzine and diesel
  • 100 Big Agnes zero degree sleeping bags to the TDF
  • 400 North American Rescue (NAR) IFAKs to TDF in Sumy thanks to donors Doug Hauer and Jack Gilad
  • 400 NAR IFAKs to Ukrposhta national post office teams
  • 160 NAR IFAKs to Ukrainian Railways security teams
  • 60 NAR MCI WALK field medic backpacks to Ukrainian Railways thanks to CUF
  • 390 NAR IFAKs to various Territorial Defense Forces in eastern Ukraine thanks to UMANA and UCCA
  • 1,200 Fiskars long shovels to various TDF units across the south and east
  • 100 Fiskars tri-fold shovels to various TDF units
  • 1,100 kilograms of food to the mayor of Beryslav
  • 8 duffel bags of emergency meds donated by UMANA
  • 35 winter snow suits for TDF donated by Amed Khan
  • 1 donated ultrasound machine
  • Three donated 4x4s and two ambulances to TDF units

The Spring Offensive

You may have heard about the ‘spring offensive,’ but in reality the renewed Russian assault began many weeks ago. Starting in early February, our partners began requesting IFAKs on a scale we had not seen since before winter set in. With the generators and cold weather gear distributed, White Stork is returning to its origins by focusing on Individual First Aid Kits (IFAKs) and IFAK replacement kits.

What is an IFAK replacement kit? IFAK replacement kits do not contain the full 18 components inside of a fully assembled IFAK. Replacement kits only contain a tourniquet, Israeli bandage, combat gauze, compressed gauze, chest seals, nasopharyngeal airway, and lube. The demand that White Stork is responding to across the frontlines today is for replacement kits. This is primarily due to the attrition-style warfare we are seeing in eastern Ukraine, including the effects of artillery. White Stork has delivered 24,516 IFAKs across Ukraine so far. We have ordered components for 4,000 replacement kits.

We are also purchasing tourniquets and combat gauze in Ukraine. We endeavor to purchase medical supplies that are made in Ukraine as long as price and quality are acceptable. The Ukrainian Ministry of Health has approved a tourniquet made in Dnipro and a combat gauze (with hemostatic) made north of Kyiv. The rest of our IFAK supplies are still flown in from the United States or sourced in Europe.

Again, we want to specifically thank our donors because White Stork is sustained by their generosity. If you are inclined to support our mission, please make a donation at WhiteStork.us.