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PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. —The city of Prairie Village will soon send additional aid to residents in its sister city in Ukraine

On Monday, the city council unanimously approved allocating up to $10,000 for the purchase and shipment of walkie talkies to Dolyna, Ukraine. Walkie talkies are portable radios that can be used by two to four people to communicate several miles apart. 

Mayor Eric Mikkelson said the mayor of Dolyna had originally indicated a need for a number of things that Prairie Village is legally unable to either procure or ship. That request included items like a Phoenix ghost drone and military ammunition.

“I did suggest, ask him [the mayor], whether cash would be helpful without promising him anything. His response, somewhat surprisingly, was no cash is not that useful. They have cash, they just can’t get things that they need,” Mikkelson said.

After additional discussion, city leaders determined Prairie Village could send walkie talkies. 

“He confirms that these [walkie talkies] would be extremely useful to him. More importantly they would probably channel these to some of their more frontline cities who are enduring the brunt of this horrific onslaught by the Russian Army,”  Mikkelson said.  

City Administrator Wes Jordan is recommending the city purchase a well-known brand of walkie talkies like Motorola or Cobra. 

“There is off-brand [radios] out there,” Jordan said. “Some of these [walkie talkies] are made for 4- and 5-year-olds. Some of them have a range of several miles and can be quite expensive. I just chose something that was rechargeable. That they wouldn’t need to keep putting batteries in and that you can communicate for several miles.”

Last month the Prairie Village Police Department was able to donate 50 ballistic vests of various types to Ukraine, however city staff say shipping has been difficult. 

Both UPS and FedEx have suspended service to Ukraine because of the war. According to city documents, staff were able to find another shipping source to get donations to the general region, but not specifically to Dolyna. 

Jordan said each radio is expected to cost about $45. The total number of radios being donated will be determined once city staff figure out the final cost of shipping. 

“I think we are going to make a difference for some people, maybe even save some lives,” Mikkelson said.  

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