CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — One Ukrainian local has been distributing his imported vodka to stores across the Capital Region for more than a decade. Area restaurant owners and liquor stores are showing support through vodka sales and helping those people of Ukraine.
“I was born in Kyiv. I lived my life in Kyiv, and I love the beautiful city,” said Alexander Bratslavsky. “It’s really difficult to see what’s happening.”
From Ukraine to Guilderland, Bratslavsky—the owner of Pristine Vodka—is filled with emotions as he worries about his homeland and loved ones. “I found out my friend today lost his house and nobody knows if he is alive or not,” he said. “A bomb completely took it down, and he lost everything.”
Local liquor stores and restaurants are buying his vodka. Craig Allen, owner of All-Star Wine & Spirits in Latham says it’s all about showing support to Ukraine in its darkest hour. “He’s a personal friend outside of this, but just to see what he goes through it’s hard to see this,” said Allen.
The owner of Athos Restuarant in Albany, Sophia Socaris is standing with Urkaine one pour at a time. All of the proceeds from the Pristine Vodka specialty drinks are going directly to the Society for Critical Care Medicine & Direct Relief. Socaris says it will help provide the Ukrainian people with much-needed medical supplies.
Those donations are desperately needed for the Ukrainian military, as much as they are needed by its people. “I was in the army,” said Bratslavsky. “Never thought this would happen in Ukraine.”
Retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel Tom Raleigh can relate. He was stationed in Eastern Europe for several years, including in Ukraine in 2015. Despite fears of Russia invading, one thing stands out to him. “What we’re seeing is a heroic, tenacious and professional, and confident Ukrainian armed forces,” said Raleigh.
Two former soldiers, Raleigh and Bratslavsky share their hope for peace and the end of the war.