TÜ alumni group donates SUV to Estonian volunteers fighting in Ukraine
Estonian volunteers fighting in the ranks of the Ukrainian Foreign Legion were gifted a powerful SUV on Wednesday, which was donated by a group of University of Tartu (TÜ) law alumni.
Bought in Finland, the Nissan SUV is headed for Ukraine thanks to a group of 33 TÜ law alumni from the class of 1980.
"The vehicle's expenses totaled €8,500, and people donated according to their own conscience," attorney Andres Alaver explained. "Donations are exceeding the price of the car, so we can definitely support the hero's delivery at least as far as the Ukrainian border."
This marks the second SUV that Alaver will be delivering to Ukrainian troops; the first he bought with his own money this spring. This Nissan, however, is being sent to German Barinov personally — a Pärnu native who joined the Ukrainian Foreign Legion in March.
"The decision was an easy one," the TÜ alum explained. "If the Ukrainian state recognizes German's courage, then we can't be less than. That's what we decided by. He deserves the best vehicle in Estonia. And ultimately we can't forget that we share a specific goal — death to [Vladimir] Putin."
Last month, Barinov was awarded the Order for Courage, 3rd Class, by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after he and his unit came under three days of Russian fire.
"I didn't panic and was able to help my colleagues, and evacuate most effectively with their help," he recalled. "My superior liked that, and wanted to nominate me for this order, and that's a big honor for me."
The SUV he'll be receiving won't be his first vehicle in this war, however.
"We use a lot of cars," Barinov explained. "And they modernized this car especially for us. This will come in very handy on the terrain where we are."
The vehicle is packed with humanitarian aid, and nine days from now, he'll be driving it back to Ukraine.
Barinov heard about the partial military mobilization ordered in Russia on Wednesday as well.
"I'm very sorry for the Russian people in opposition of this, as this war will not be won with cannon fodder," he said. "And unfortunately, the Russian military is indeed using its men as cannon fodder these days. I've seen this with my own eyes, and I'm just sorry. And it definitely won't strengthen them in any way that would make it worthwhile."
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Editor: Aili Vahtla