“But, I mean, you know, when you get a missile strike like this – I’m sure you’ve heard of shell shock and PTSD and I hope that’s something that doesn’t won’t traumatize him.”
Fight for Ukraine provides logistical information for Canadians wishing to assist Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion.
Ecklund said the injured Canadian is now in a country neighboring Ukraine.
The man was about 20 kilometers from the Ukrainian-Polish border, near the Ukrainian city of Lviv, when Russian missiles fell on the military training base on Sunday.
Lviv Governor Maksym Kozytskyi said more than 30 Russian cruise missiles were targeting the sprawling facility. Most of the Russian missiles “were shot down because the air defense system was working”, but those that passed killed at least 35 people and injured 134, he said.
Poland is a transit route for Western military aid to Ukraine, and the United States has increased the number of American troops deployed there.
Ecklund said the injured Canadian sent photos of the destruction following the missile strikes, including a huge hole in the ground, burning structures, shattered glass and burning buildings. Some of the man’s documents, including his passport, were also destroyed, he said.
“The destruction was just unbelievable,” Ecklund said. “He’s a lucky young man to be alive.”
In a war like this, Ecklund added, he plans for the worst and hopes for the best.
“It was just an absolute miracle that there were no Canadians among the dead and injured,” he said. “At the moment we only know of one person – this person.”
Global Affairs Canada spokeswoman Sabrina Williams said in a statement that the department is aware that a Canadian was injured in Ukraine as a result of missile fire over the weekend.
“Consular officials are in contact with the individual and stand ready to provide assistance,” Williams said. “For reasons of confidentiality, no other information can be disclosed.”
Ecklund said his organization, which he described as an information portal, saw around 300 people “pass through our website”. The injured Canadian had registered on the website and then followed the steps to get clearance from the Ukrainian Embassy, he said.
Defense Minister Anita Anand said it was one person’s decision to volunteer to fight, while the Canadian government could provide information on the seriousness of the situation on the ground in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian government said around 20,000 foreigners from various nations have joined the so-called International Legion for the Territorial Defense of Ukraine – most of them from Western countries.
Ecklund said he has been in constant contact with the Canadiens since his injury.
“We got him a hot meal just to cheer him up a bit. Because after going through such a traumatic event, I thought, you know what, let’s have a nice hot meal in his stomach. I also offered him a beer. So he appreciated that,” he said.
“He’s in a much better position, mentally, because he knows there’s a support network out there for him.”
— With files from the Associated Press
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on March 14, 2022.
Hina Alam, The Canadian Press