Russia-Ukraine crisis: Tampa-based group of military veterans says 2nd rescue operation of Americans underway

Project Dynamo, a Tampa-based nonprofit rescue group made up of mostly military veterans, says its second rescue operation to evacuate Americans from Ukraine is underway amid Russia's invasion into the country.

The organization is made up of volunteers, many with experience in special operations and intelligence.

Days before Russia's military invaded Ukraine, Project Dynamo said they had their boots on the ground, preparing for a potential evacuation operation. Their planning had intensified after the U.S. State Department evacuated diplomatic personnel and abandoned the U.S. Embassy in the capital city of Kyiv in mid-February.

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The group said they began their first wave of evacuations on Thursday, minutes after team members reportedly heard and felt nearby explosions from the Russian invasion. Spokesman James Judge told FOX 13 the organization rescued 28 Americans in their first wave.

The first wave of Americans and lawful residents who escaped Kyiv on Thursday. (Project Dynamo)

The first wave of Americans and lawful residents who escaped Kyiv on Thursday. (Project Dynamo)

By Friday morning, that group was safely within a few miles of the border of a neighboring country, Project Dynamo said, and was expected to be out of Ukraine in the next 24 hours.

Meanwhile, their second busload of Americans departed Kyiv around 5 a.m. Eastern time Friday, following new waves of Russian attacks on the city. The group is also heading to a neighboring country, where the evacuees will be taken to an airport or American embassy, organizers said.

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They aren't stopping there. They said they hope to launch their third and fourth rescue missions soon, and have received more than 1,000 requests for help from various parts of Ukraine in the past 48 hours alone.

"While our primary focus is and remains getting Americans out, we are also aiding some residents of neighboring countries who are desperate to flee the war-torn country," the group said in a statement.

If you have someone there who needs help evacuating, you can make a request on Project Dynamo's website