KHERSON OBLAST, Ukraine — A team from the locally-based nonprofit Project DYNAMO once again successfully evacuated a group of people from Ukraine.
Since last week, more than 150 people, including five newborn American and British babies, have been rescued from Ukraine, leaders from the organization explained in a news release.
100 of the people reportedly came from the city of Kherson, which is under total Russian occupation and siege in the south.
So how was the nonprofit able to ride out this mission? Eight cars and three buses were deployed to meet evacuees at their homes and other locations throughout the city before leaving for Mykolaiv.
The trip to Mykolaiv, which would usually take less than an hour, took nearly six hours because of all the artillery shelling and mine-laced evacuation routes the crew says they needed to avoid.
After arriving in the neighboring city, some of the people immediately left Ukraine and went to Poland, nonprofit leaders explain. The majority of the evacuees were placed at an "undisclosed safe location" until Thursday morning before leaving for Romania.
Men, woman, children, elderly residents and their pets were rescued by Project DYNAMO during the APOLLO mission.
Along with the successful evacuation, the nonprofit organization says they also conducted multiple GEMINI operations, safely moving one British baby and four American babies. The infants were born to Ukrainian surrogate mothers.
The babies were introduced to their American and British families near the border in Ukraine before everyone evacuated back into Poland Wednesday night.
“As with most rescue missions in non-permissive and dangerous areas, the timing is critically important; we have to operate within these small windows of opportunity,” Bryan Stern, co-founder of Project DYNAMO, said in a statement.
“For example, if we would have tried to conduct this rescue operation today, we would have been unable to get these people out due to the deteriorating situation on the ground and significant increase in violence by the Russian forces.”
Since early March, civilians and medical workers in Kherson were being targeted by Russian forces, according to the release. Local hospitals were bombed while ambulances and other cars were attacked.
The operation in the city took a week to plan and less than 24 hours to successfully execute, leaders from Project DYNAMO explain.
The Tampa-based nonprofit has now rescued more than 550 people from the war-torn, Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine and helped them get to somewhere safer.
Just a little over a week ago, the group announced it helped five pregnant surrogates bearing American children.
They were among a total of 60 people, including the Ukrainian mothers' children and family members, who fled areas that have been under attack by the Russian military, according to the organization.
For more information on Project DYNAMO or how to donate, click here.