The Ukrainian World Congress, as part of its Unite With Ukraine initiative, is helping to restore and repair 50 GAZ-66 all-wheel drive cargo trucks for the transportation needs of the Territorial Defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
"The essence of this project is very basic. There is a critical shortage of all-wheel drive military vehicles at the front, especially now, when we are planning a major offensive. We came up with a simple solution to take existing Soviet vehicles, which have already been written off and were to be disposed of as scrap metal and give them a second life." said Viktor Shevchenko, officer of the logistics department of the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The first lots of these vehicles have already gone to the troops and are performing their tasks in the combat zone and in rear support and supply sectors.
According to the director of the Unite with Ukraine initiative, Andrew Potichnyj, this use of funds is extremely effective, as a new vehicle of this class can cost somewhere between $50,000 - $80,000, while existing equipment can be restored for $5,000 - $8,000.
Reviving such equipment back into working order is a relatively difficult task as they have already been written off and have not received proper care and maintenance for decades. Experts such as Andriy Podezha and his team of professional mechanics came to help with the restoration.
Podezha notes that "Each of these trucks is between 40 and 60 years old, and these vehicles technically qualify for recycling, however their restoration is justified in terms of technical characteristics and for the tasks they have to perform on the front. All these vehicles are four-wheel drive and with the right approach to restoration, they are easily able to perform the tasks that they are assigned. Restoring each vehicle is a difficult process, as the situation with each truck is unique. Sometimes the chassis needs to be repaired, and sometimes the body needs to be restored.”
"In fact, this entails the restoration of the entire vehicle, the repairs of those pieces of equipment that are no longer suitable for operation. The entire process of the repairs involves replacing the brake system, fuel system, body repair, installation of rear coverings and other parts and mechanisms necessary for the vehicle to perform effectively. It takes about 20 days to restore one of our vehicles," said Andriy Podezha, director of the company that repairs automotive equipment for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
"It is thanks to our close cooperation with the military, and in particular with the leadership of the Territorial Defense Forces, that we can consistently and effectively help the Ukrainian army. The principle of our work is to listen to the military and work with their requests, because only they understand what equipment they need. Vehicles during war are consumables, and there is an urgent and constant need for them, especially four-wheel drive trucks.
That Ukrainian World Congress takes a leadership role in exactly these types vitally important projects and initiatives. We continue to raise funds, cooperate with our Diaspora communities and donors to realize various projects of the UniteWithUkraine initiative”. said Paul Grod, president of the Ukrainian World Congress.
The Ukrainian World Congress, as part of its #UniteWithUkraine initiative, has provided more than $40 million in aid to the Territorial Defense Forces, the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other security structures from donations collected in more than 70 countries.