Sale of t-shirts to help Ukrainians who helped an officer during a police mission

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BRANTFORD A Brantford man says he sells t-shirts to help Ukrainians who have helped him.

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Steve Long, an officer with the Aylmer Police Department, spent a year in Ukraine as part of a Canadian police mission in 2018.

He traveled through much of the country which has now been invaded by Russia.

“I lived in an apartment in Kyiv right next to the Golden Gate, a neighborhood I now watch on the news,” he said.

The T-shirts feature a graphic representation of Ukraine in the country’s blue and yellow colors, with a red maple leaf in the center.

“It represents the connection that Canada has with Ukraine,” Long said. “The second largest population of Ukrainians in the world is right here in Canada.

Long said the police mission he was involved in was an international peacekeeping operation through the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which also had missions in Iraq, Haiti and Palestine. The RCMP would receive requests through the United Nations.

Candidates for the mission go through a selection process that includes reading, writing and physical tests and training in international law, human rights and first aid.

“We took Ukraine-specific training on culture, visited an Orthodox church and learned about the country’s history…” Long said.

He helped develop a police motorcycle program in Ukraine. At the time of his deployment, he was working for the Halton Regional Police.

“We first trained 21 new motorcycle instructors because they had never had one before,” he noted. “That was my expertise, and mainly the reason why I was selected to go to Ukraine.”

Long said the overall objective of the mission was to bring reform and stabilization, as the police were seen as corrupt under previous political regimes.

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“We trained 200 to 300 police during my time there, and the reality is that some of them were killed in this war,” he said. “I do daily checks with some of them.”

Throughout his time in Ukraine, Long and his 21 colleagues have relied heavily on performers, including two named Taras and Vadym, who will benefit from funds raised from the sale of the T-shirts.

“There is a lot of money globally that is committed to Ukraine,” he noted. “A group of us members of the mission have formed a group and want to help those who have helped us.”

Long said Taras and Vadym took their wives and children to the Polish border, but the two men will remain in Ukraine.

“They will have sent their wives and children across the border with very little money and nothing to support themselves.”

He said he follows a woman on Instagram, who is the daughter of an officer coordinating the Civil Defense Forces just north of Kyiv.

“The apartment below her was blown up and she was putting out the fire,” Long said. “I’m watching as best I can. But it’s really difficult because I’m afraid that one day (Instagram posts) will stop.

Long planned to sell T-shirts only to colleagues. But a social media post resulted in a single order of 100 shirts, and in less than two weeks, 300 shirts were sold.

To purchase a shirt, contact Long at: [email protected]

A slogan written in Russian under the shirt graphic may be offensive to some. This is the response of one of the Ukrainian soldiers defending a Black Sea island, who told an officer aboard a Russian warship to ‘fuck you’ when asked to surrender .

[email protected]

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