CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As the war in Ukraine rages on, a local doctor is in the war-torn nation, volunteering to care for those who have been impacted by the fighting. Dr. Stephen Kineke, from Clifton Park, has been in Ukraine since last week, providing care at numerous clinics.
“Just seeing what was going on in Ukraine on the news, it was just heartbreaking, and I felt compelled to help,” Kineke said, when asked why he wanted to volunteer in the midst of the war.
The doctor from Clifton Park is part of a team through the non-profit Global Care Force. They’ve hosted clinics in a handful of communities in central and southern Ukraine so far, providing aid to hundreds to this point.
“We’ve seen so much PTSD, anxiety, depression, we’ve seen a lot of that. That’s the bulk of the patients we’re seeing is stress disorders I think,” Kineke explained.
They’ve also cared for patients physically impacted by the war, “He [another volunteer doctor] took care of a woman who had a landmine explode that spring shattered her legs,” said Kineke.
In addition to caring for those physically and mentally impacted by Russia’s invasion, Kineke said there have also been a number of elderly patients with chronic conditions, who haven’t been able to visit a doctor since the war began.
His harrowing experiences in the war-torn nation have been amplified by the environment surrounding the volunteers. Kineke had the chance to visit Bucha and Irpin, two cities outside of Kyiv that saw horrific Russian atrocities earlier in the war.
“It’s just a crime what the Russians have done,” the doctor said.
The team also visited a small basement in the first village they held a clinic. Ukrainians had stayed there for weeks earlier on in the war when enemy forces occupied their community, “Kept in there for 40 days, they’d have to sneak out at night to get food,” he explained.
But despite these unimaginable experiences, Kineke says the tenacity of the Ukrainian people remains strong, nearly seven months after the invasion began, “Ukrainians are just so brave and resilient, what they’ve gone through.”
Kineke will return to the U.S. from his volunteer efforts next week.
A second team from Global Care Force will head to Ukraine at the beginning of October. The organization says volunteers will continue heading to the war-torn country monthly through at least the spring, with later visits possible depending on the situation.
Find out more information about the organization online.