Nebraska state senator returns from Ukraine trip

During his time, he worked on humanitarian and military efforts, but said the country still needs more help.
Published: Jul. 28, 2022 at 12:08 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Nebraska State Senator Tom Brewer is now back from a month-long trip to Ukraine. During his time, he worked on humanitarian and military efforts, but said the country still needs more help.

Senator Brewer said his long history of military service prepared him for the experience of traveling to a country at war, but what he saw was still just as hard as anything he’s done.

In his legislative office back in Lincoln, a desk is filled with mementos from the trip. Military patches and pins given to him out in the field, pieces of destroyed Russian military equipment, and used shell casings tell a story of what he’s seen and done.

“Day by day, you go town by town, so you would go at night and you would fill your trucks and prepare and the next morning you would get up and go out to all these places that we knew were living in the basement,” Brewer said.

Brewer flew into Poland and with a translator and friends he made along the way, made his way across the country from west to east. He said much of the action is on that eastern border, closest to Russia.

Many Ukrainians who have stayed behind are older and remember a time when Russia invaded before.

“They had lived under the Russian days, the Soviet days and they understood what it was going to be like and they had made the decision that they would rather die than live under those conditions,” Brewer said.

Many of his days were spent delivering boxes of supplies to those who remained, essentials like food and other needs for families and people who are now basically living underground.

“They have no car, they have no money, they have nowhere to go and so they live in these rather austere conditions, dirt floor basement,” Brewer said. “You couldn’t help but feel sorry for them because they’re living just a really hard life and most of them are in their 60s, 70s, and 80s.”

Brewer did say that military aid, in the form of things like long-range missiles from the United States, is coming slowly but surely. He said that combined with the spirit of the Ukrainian people means they could continue to gain momentum going into this fall.

“I could see a burning passion on their part to never give up, so I think the Russians have a hard road ahead for them,” Brewer said.

Brewer hopes to return to Ukraine in the fall of this year if his health and work schedule permits.

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