Watch now: Nebraska sends protective equipment to help Ukraine | Local

Nebraska has sent 550 pieces of used protective law enforcement and military equipment to Ukraine to help protect Ukrainians who are battling the Russian troops who have invaded their country, Gov. Pete Ricketts announced Wednesday.

The equipment was delivered to Des Moines where it was scheduled to be flown to Ukraine along with equipment gathered in Iowa.

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“We want to help the people of Ukraine fight this aggression,” the governor said. “We support Ukraine,” the governor said during a news conference that included Ukrainian Catholic Church representatives and a third grader named Lexi Fedoronko who tearfully said her grandparents are still in Ukraine. 

They all asked Nebraskans to pray for the people of Ukraine.

Among the donated items shipped from Nebraska were 321 pieces of body armor and 69 helmets.

Cass County Sheriff’s Lt. Larry Burke said his department donated 30 to 40 vests, which typically cost about $400 apiece. He told the Omaha World-Herald each vest is at least 5 years old, which means it no longer is in compliance with law enforcement standards.

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Normally, Burke said the Sheriff’s Office would dispose of the vests through a vendor but “this was a way of cleaning out our storage and (they) are hopefully going to a good cause.”

Pete Ricketts mug

Pete Ricketts

Ricketts said the people of Ukraine are undergoing “enormous suffering” now as a result of “the unprovoked attack” by Russia. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has created “the worst refugee crisis since World War II,” the governor said. “Nebraskans stand with Ukraine.”

Bennet Goldstein of the Omaha World-Herald contributed to this report.

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