What do Latvia and Ukraine have in common? In addition to nature, wonderful people, delicious food and ideas, how can we develop our countries and move only forward?
Both of these countries survived the occupation, the peoples of our countries survived the deportation, survived the war, and this is a huge tragedy that left a mark on our lives.
But Ukraine is fighting for freedom right now, right this minute. On February 24, 2022, the whole world could not believe that this was possible in the 21st century. And even in this difficult time, we see how strong the spirit of the Ukrainian people is, how they fight for victory.
We, as the Mil-Coffee brand and as ordinary people who created this brand, are personally acquainted with hundreds of Ukrainians. Some of them we met before the war, some after the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. But we know all these people as excellent professionals in their field, as kind and helpful friends.
Therefore, Mil-Coffee, together with Militaryshop.lv, without any discussion, began to take an active part in helping Ukraine, its people and military personnel. This help continues to come from us to this day, thanks to the people of Latvia, caring people, thanks to the Ukrainians who are now forced to live in Latvia, and also thanks to the brands with which we cooperate.
All this is also possible thanks to the cooperation of Mil-Coffee and Militaryshop.lv with the Embassy of Ukraine in Latvia, which understands and appreciates our contribution to the joint approach to the victory of Ukraine.
Someone will tell us that we support the military in vain, but we strongly disagree with this. First, the military, these are the same people as all of us. Secondly, if they are not afraid to do a little more than an ordinary person, are not afraid to risk their lives for the lives of others, then we will not stop helping both the Ukrainian military and the Latvian army.
Now we want to tell a little about the projects that we are implementing as part of charitable assistance
"Running to win"
One of our latest projects was the sponsorship, together with Militaryshop.lv, of a Ukrainian woman who now lives in Latvia, Ksusha Goncharenko.
She came up with a charity initiative and decided to run a 10 km distance at Rimi Marathon 2023. But she ran it in a Warrior Assault Systems bulletproof vest, which we donated to Ksusha. This body armor weighed 7 kilograms, it was hard, but Ksusha did it like a real Ukrainian.
During and after this marathon, a collection of donations was opened for one of the Ukrainian military units.
And on July 7, 2023, Ksusha went to Ukraine with the first batch of necessary goods. With donations from caring people, she was able to buy and paint a pickup truck, Ecoflow charging stations and a Mavic drone.
All of this is made possible thanks to the unity that we demonstrate every day together with our coffee buyers.
Support for Ukrainian aviation
Every day, the Ukrainian military defends not only their native land, but also the sky.
We supported one of these people, Vadim Voroshilov, callsign “KARAYA”. This young man, second-class pilot, major of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, was awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine on December 5, 2022. We consider it an honor to know and help people like Vadim.
In addition to some military assistance, we also helped organize a photo shoot for Vadim Voroshilov, this was attended by our good friend, Ukrainian and incredible professional photographer, Marianna Shafro.
Photos from this photo shoot were used to illustrate the exclusive issue of Vogue Ukraine, which was released in the spring of 2023, for the first time in print since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
As a sign of gratitude, Vadim gave us one of the copies of this magazine with warm wishes and his autograph.
We really appreciate such mutually human relations and work precisely for this.
Tata Kepler – the soul of Ukrainian tactical medicine
We met Tata Kepler in Kyiv, and we consider her an amazing person.
Tata runs the legendary Kyiv bars “BarmenDiktat”, “Peat” and “Warehouse”, but she is known for her many years of volunteer work. Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Kepler has founded the "Birds" movement, helping the military and civilians.
One of the directions of her project is to get to places where doctors do not get. These are gray areas, liberated territories and distant villages in Ukraine. "Birds" traveled to about a hundred de-occupied settlements and donated humanitarian aid worth about $5 million.
Mil-Coffee, together with Militaryshop.lv, also could not pass by and helped Tata close a ton of daily requests from the military. We regularly donate and continue to donate everything that we can collect, everything that people donate in our store.
The soldiers assisted by Tata drank several tens of liters of our coffee, which we passed on as warming and invigorating drinks.
We immensely appreciate the human connection with Tata and admire her strength and optimism, which she manages to maintain for so many months of full-scale war.
Humanitarian Aid Point Initiative
When people started to get tired of what was happening and there were too many fundraisers, we decided to keep the support from people in a different way.
Therefore, we organized a collection point for humanitarian aid in our store.
Each person can buy goods in our store, coffee, military equipment, whatever he wants and leave with us. Also, people can bring already purchased goods to our store. In turn, we undertake to transfer this to Ukraine precisely to those military personnel and those people who need it most of all.
This initiative allows us to unite people around the problems of the war and not just donate money, but be directly involved in choosing what a person in Ukraine will receive.
“Azov. Made in Ukraine”
February 24, when the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine began, the Azov under the command of Denis Prokopenko took up the defense of Mariupol and nearby villages.
“February 26, 10 am, the city of Mariupol. The Azov Regiment, together with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the National Guard and other law enforcement agencies, is reliably defending the city of Mariupol. We will fight to the last drop of blood, we are not afraid of either enemy tanks, or missile strikes, or enemy aircraft, I order every fighter of the Azov regiment to fight to the last. We will destroy the Russians in the air, on land and water. Together to victory! Glory to Ukraine!” — said Denis Prokopenko, February 26, 2022.
And so it happened, as Denis Prokopenko ordered, the servicemen from the Azov regiment fought heroically for 86 days for Mariupol, for Azovstal. They helped civilians who were with them at the factory, in those days they fought for the whole of Ukraine.
On May 20, on the 86th day of the defense of Mariupol, the remnants of the garrison, according to the order of the leadership, stopped the resistance, surrendering to Russian troops. On May 31, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced the seizure of 152 bodies of the military defenders of Azovstal, including the Azov special forces.
A small part of the fighters has already managed to return back to Ukraine. Someone did not live to see the exchange of prisoners, like those 53 soldiers who were killed during the shelling in the Russian colony in Olenovka. Someone is still in captivity, and someone is missing.
But, the Ukrainian people remember their heroes, they know what price these military men paid for the freedom of Ukraine, and thank them for their courage every day.
When we learned the history of the Azov battalion from our friends from Ukraine, from the news that was then shown around the world, together with Militaryshop.lv we became one of those who supported and took part in the creation of a social video about Azov.
We wanted to show the history of these military men, their ideology, their courage to as many people as possible.
So we got an absolutely amazing, strong video work called “Azov. Made in Ukraine”, which was released on the Militarysop.lv YouTube channel on September 12, 2022.
We are extremely grateful for the honor of participating in the creation of this video, and also grateful to the incredibly talented people who led the entire process, invested a lot of personal experiences, effort, time in this work, put their whole soul into this work:
NEUTRINO – Kyiv and London-based film and TV studio, whose foundation coincided with the beginning of the Russian invasion.
Story by: Mariana Shafro, Evgeniy Brooks.
Director of photography: Evgeniy Brooks.
Producers: Mariana Shafro, Evgeniy Brooks, Bohdan Korzhenko.
Assistant Director: Alex Dmitriev.
The camera mechanic: Alex Dmitriev.
Playback: DIT Alex Dmitriev.