Six months since Russia invaded Ukraine, Project Dynamo continues mission to rescue Americans

It’s been six months since Russia invaded Ukraine, and just as Americans are urged to leave, one American returned to Ukraine this week.

Tampa Bay’s Bryan Stern plans to keep rescuing Americans through his nonprofit, Project Dynamo.

"I'm in the same hotel that I was in the day that the war started," said Stern.

He’s been back and forth since the war began. During that time, he said Ukraine adapted to a new normal/

"Restaurants are open, and stores are open, and things are open here in Kiev. But at the same time, all day today, my air raid app has been blowing up all day. All day. We've been under air raid, under air raid warning," said Stern.

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August 24 marked six months since Russia invaded Ukraine, and Project Dynamo’s rescue missions started on day one.

"Missiles landed around 5:30 in the morning. And we started doing rescues around 6:30 that same morning," said Stern.

Experts from the University of South Florida said Russia seemed to have the upper hand at first.

"So, it looked like this could be a really swift war. But what we didn't expect was the level of resistance from the Ukrainians, the level of unity among Western allies to provide aid," said Golfo Alexopoulos, director of USF’s Institute for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies.

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Alexopoulos said the Russian military ended up making mistakes.

"I think that there's a reason to be optimistic that Ukraine could achieve victory," said Alexopoulos.

Experts said the war appears to be in a stalemate, but the U.S. government is now urging Americans to get out.

"I think that they're expecting more bombings by Russia. They're expecting greater activity on the part of the Russian military to really kind of push for a breakthrough in the war," said Alexopoulos.

Those on the ground said they agree.

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"Catastrophic events that happen here before breakfast are harder to stomach than what most of us can handle in our lives. And it happens every single day," said Stern.

But Project Dynamo said that won’t stop them from answering calls for help.

"The only reason why we're here is because we know that people didn't leave. It's the only reason why we're here," said Stern.

Stern said Project Dynamo runs rescue missions with the help of donations, and they are getting thousands of requests.

USF’s Institute for Russian Studies said the Ukraine war may seem far away for Americans, but Alexopoulos said Russian president Vladimir Putin sees this war as a war also involving the U.S. and the west.