Here I am with Igor & Doug handing a few of the panels and generators I brought. This is right before we headed to the train station in front of a grocery store when I realized: "Oh ----! I haven't gotten any pictures of me doing anything here!"
Veterans' issues are also going to be an issue after this war (which they are almost always are). The government let go of Igor's squad and stopped paying them almost immediately after the battle for Kyiv finished as they had nothing to do but checkpoint duty at that time. Yet most did not have "jobs" to go back to. (As territorials, they do not deploy away from their province, only the regular army does). I could tell that bothered Igor as he personally is very well off and already had spent 10 years with the Ukrainian army (2 yrs at a special military high school, four years at their military academy/university, and four years on active duty). And he prefers to remain outside the formal army structure now as he is able to get a lot more done in a private capacity with his family's resources and connections.
However, gratitude never lasts long! When we visited the battle site where Igor and Doug spent weeks defending the city, an old man began berating Igor and said he should have to pay him to take pictures of his destroyed neighborhood. Igor retorted that he spent a month defending that neighborhood. And it began to escalate from there. I could understand the old man a bit as there were a number of "tourists" taking pictures of the carnage where the Russians were stopped. But the old man should have backed down immediately when Igor told him who he was (and he did not - stating that he never saw him there, calling into doubt the hell Igor went through to protect this man's home).
Igor is one rock solid warrior by all accounts too. But when we were driving around, we went over a railroad track unexpectedly and immediately upon the "thump thump" of going over the tracks, Igor took an involuntary deep breath, clutched his chest and looked over at me sheepishly and then started laughing: going over the tracks sounded like incoming shells and Igor was having an involuntary physical reaction to it . . . so hopefully years from now Ukraine will be able to take care of their veterans as well as they should . . . particularly given the sacrifices they are making . . . Sunday morning Igor looked at his phone and told me the Russians had launched a chemical attack in Mariupol at the Azovstal steel plant. Turned out in later news reports that it was likely white phosphorous and not chemical. But Igor receives instantaneous intel from an old Army buddy that is one of the last defenders at the steel plant in Mariupol that have been holding out for weeks. Igor calls him every morning first thing to see if he is still alive and made it through the night as they are surrounded, constantly under attack, and have no resupply (including water and ammo) . . . .