The private sector delivers flak jackets, tourniquets, weapons and ‘heaters, heaters, heaters!’
When Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska visited New York in September, former Gov. George Pataki asked what her country needed most. “Heaters, heaters, heaters!” she exclaimed.
Mr. Pataki relayed her request to his friend Earle Mack, a real-estate developer and former U.S. ambassador to Finland. Outraged by Russia’s invasion, both men had traveled often to Ukraine to express support and deliver whatever food, clothes and supplies they could muster. Now they had a new mission: Find industrial-strength heaters to prevent Vladimir Putin’s missile assault on the country’s power grid, water plants and other critical infrastructure from freezing Ukrainians to death in winter and paralyzing their fierce resistance.
Mr. Mack called U.S. manufacturers, but few had heaters to spare. Most of what they had wouldn’t help, since Ukrainian products work on 240-volt electricity, not America’s 120 volts. Eventually, Mr. Mack found Minnesota-based Pinnacle, which had 385 surplus heaters made for the European market in a warehouse in Amsterdam. Each heater can run for 31 hours and heat a 20,000-cubic-foot area—about the size of a hotel ballroom—on a single load of diesel fuel. Mr. Mack bought them all—at a steep discount, because Pinnacle wanted to help. On Jan. 12, he personally delivered the first of them to Viktor Mykyta, governor of the western Ukrainian region of Zakarpattia, much of which is without power and lights for eight to 12 hours a day.
Continue reading the entire piece here at Wall Street Journal (paywall)
Judith Miller is a contributing editor of City Journal and adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Follow her on Twitter here.
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