U.S. Veteran Rescued from Russian-occupied Territory in Ukraine: 'We don't leave our people behind'

U.S. Veteran Rescued from Russian-occupied Territory in Ukraine: 'We don't leave our people behind'

An army of veterans and civilians called Project Dynamo rescued retired Sergeant 1st Class Robert "Bob" Platt, his wife and their cats on Saturday from a town northeast of Kyiv.

In Platt's hometown, "he lived behind enemy lines, with Russians in his backyard and tanks on his street," Project Dynamo co-founder Bryan Stern told Fox News Digital.

They planned to evacuate Platt and his family on Thursday, but they came under Russian artillery fire just five miles away from Platt and had to turn back. He said to me, "Look Brian, it is too hot here. You need to go. Just leave; we will be in Russian-occupied Ukraine," Stern recalled Platt's remarks. And I said, "We don't leave our people behind. We can't do that. Your jobs are simple: Stay positive, stay alive. I'll handle the rest."

Stern and Team Dynamo came up with a new plan and executed it on Saturday when a window of opportunity opened.

Platt, the victim of an ambush and a veteran of the United States Army's 82d Airborne Division who served in Operation Just Cause and Operation Desert Storm, and his family were finally able to be driven across the Polish border on Saturday evening.

It gives me great joy to tell a member of the military behind enemy lines: 'We won't leave you behind.' And then to rescue him and not let him go."

Stern, a Purple Heart recipient for service in the Afghan War, founded Project Dynamo to assist Americans and allies fleeing Kabul after its capture by the Taliban.

Early in January, the group sent members to Ukraine as Russian troops began massing there in anticipation of the invasion.

The group concentrated its efforts on providing assistance for Americans in Afghanistan until January, when it started sending team members to Ukraine as Russian forces began to gather on the frontier to prepare for invasion.

Dynamo has helped 215 people flee Ukraine in the past few weeks, including premature babies and Afghani refugees who settled in Kyiv after fleeing Kabul last year.

Regardless, Stern stated that rescue operations have been more difficult in Ukraine since aircraft are unavailable, but easier because bordering countries have opened their borders to those seeking refuge.

It's been really inspiring to see other countries open their arms to people in need, says Stern.