After arriving in the country, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense will be responsible for bringing weapons to the war zone.
MIAMI — Adrian Kellgren’s family-owned gun company in Cocoa, Fla., was left with a $200,000 shipment of semi-automatic rifles after a longtime customer in Ukraine suddenly went silent. during the invasion of the country by Vladimir Putin.
Fearing the worst, Kellgren and his company KelTec are now sending these 400 weapons to Ukraine’s nascent resistance movement to help civilians fight back against the Russian military.
“The American people want to do something,” Kellgren, a former US Navy pilot, told The Associated Press. “We value our freedoms, we cherish these things. And when we see a bunch of people out there getting hammered like that, it’s heartbreaking.
KelTec is a high-profile example of Americans seeking to collect weapons, ammunition, and tactical gear for Ukrainian civilians. But many efforts have been hampered by complex regulations governing the international shipment of such equipment.
Kellgren was able to contact a diplomat at the Ukrainian embassy through a neighbor who helped him obtain a federal arms export license in just four days, AP says.
Workers reportedly began forklifting four plastic-wrapped pallets containing rifles into KelTec’s warehouse for delivery to an undisclosed NATO-run facility.
After arriving there, AP reports that the Ukrainian Defense Ministry will be responsible for getting weapons into the war zone.
“That’s when true bravery and heroism begins,” Kellgren told AP.
KelTec hopes to organize other expeditions in the future.
10 Courtney Holland of Tampa Bay contributed to this report.