As the war between Russia and Ukraine nears its eighth week, Project DYNAMO is managing to continue with evacuation missions for groups of people who are most at risk.
Five surrogate mothers who are carrying children for American parents were among the 60 people the rescue organization recently evacuated. They’re currently staying in a “safe location” in Ukraine that has been code-named Club DYNAMO.
“We’re just relieved these missions were successful and with all involved safely out of harm’s way,” said Bryan Stern, Project DYNAMO’s co-founder, in a statement.
The mothers and other individuals were evacuated from Ukrainian cities that are under attack, including Kharkiv, Dnipro, Kherson, Nickolaev and Kakhovka, according to a Project DYNAMO press release.
“As indiscriminate attacks injuring and killing scores of civilians are increasing, these rescues of civilians, including pregnant surrogates, are becoming even more imperative and more difficult given the dynamic threat environment,” he continued.
Project DYNAMO reports that its volunteer team members have conducted five successful rescue operations to remove Ukrainian surrogate mothers from dangerous war zones.
The organization has code-named these rescue operations AQUARIUS, which Project DYNAMO created after the success of its Gemini rescue mission in March, when three babies were evacuated from Kyiv.
Two of those rescued babies were premature twins named Lenny and Moishe, who were born via surrogate. That experience opened the eyes of many to the needs of Ukrainian surrogate mothers.
Ukraine is a popular surrogacy destination for international parents. It’s a commercialized industry in the eastern European country; the costs of the alternative reproduction method are generally viewed as more affordable, FOX Business reported in mid-March.
So far, Project DYNAMO has rescued and reunited more than a dozen surrogate babies with their intended parents who live in the US, Canada and UK
The nonprofit rescue organization said that more than 100 surrogates have applied for evacuation assistance from combat zones, including Mariupol, the southern port city that made global headlines after a Russian airstrike destroyed a maternity and children’s hospital.
At Club DYNAMO, rescued surrogate mothers are able to stay at the “secure lay-over location” or another safe site of their choosing until they give birth and are “legally” allowed to leave Ukraine, according to Project DYNAMO.
The other evacuees whom Project DYNAMO rescued during its latest AQUARIUS rescue mission included 40 children and 15 adults. It reportedly took 30 hours for all the evacuees to be rescued from their locations.
Project DYNAMO describes its team members as “humanitarians.” It says many of them are “current and former members of the US military” who have experience in “special operations and intelligence communities.”
The organization reported that it has rescued more than 400 people from “war-torn, contested and Russian occupied areas of Ukraine” – and it has “transported them safely to neighboring countries.”
It has been rescuing people in need since the start of the war, which began on Feb. 24, 2022.
The nonprofit has received more than 15,000 evacuation requests from people around the world in relation to the Russia-Ukraine war, including the US, UK, Canada, France, Romania, Nigeria, Mexico and Afghanistan.
The privately run and donor-funded rescue organization derives its name from “Operation Dynamo.”
That was the code name used during the Dunkirk evacuation operations of World War II in 1940.
More than 4.8 million Ukrainians have fled the country, according to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.