The Weatherman Foundation’s work underscores foreign governments’ reluctance to extend some forms of medical help.
For some foreigners who rushed to Ukraine in the early days of the war, what might happen if they were wounded in battle was a question they’d figure out later.
“A lot of times we didn’t even know where the stabilization point was,” said David Bramlette, a former U.S. Army Green Beret who led a small team of foreign soldiers in Ukraine last year after leaving his graduate-level studies at Johns Hopkins.
The situation has since improved. Bramlette works for one of several foundations that are helping to evacuate wounded foreign soldiers for medical treatment outside Ukraine, allowing them to see English-speaking doctors and get faster access to specialized care.
Even so, the heavy involvement of private foundations highlights how the U.S. and friendly governments remain relatively hands-off when it comes to medical support for Ukraine’s military, even as they provide tactical training and weapons worth billions.
Shortly after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, foreigners rushed to volunteer for Ukraine. Some ultimately served in Kyiv’s International Legion, an all-foreign unit within Ukraine’s army, while others found themselves serving within regular Ukrainian military units.
“One thing we’ve noticed since we started doing the wounded evacuations is that there are foreigners serving in every unit,” said Bramlette, who works for the R.T. Weatherman Foundation.