ESTES PARK, Colo. — Aiden Sinclair is set to land back in Colorado Sunday. He said he is already starting to plan his next trip back to Ukraine.
Many Coloradans have donated their time and money to raise funds and supplies for the people of Ukraine, but far fewer have traveled into the warzone themselves. When Aiden Sinclair—a Marine, and a magician at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park—saw the footage of Russia’s invasion, he knew he had to act.
“I think as Americans, we don’t like bullies,” Sinclair said in a Zoom call from his hotel room in Warsaw, Poland. “It was such a blatant act of aggression, such a blatant act of violence, that you can’t not be upset about it. You can’t not want to take action.”
For Sinclair, taking action meant donating every penny his magic show brought in over two months—and even maxing out his credit cards—to buy medical aid and body armor for the fighters on the front lines in Ukraine. Then, wanting to see the devastation for himself and ensure successful delivery of the supplies, Sinclair decided to make two treks to Europe. Flying into Poland, he has crossed the border and traveled across Ukraine by both car and train, making it as far Kyiv to deliver supplies before returning to Poland. His most recent stint in Ukraine was less than 48 hours, he said.
“Homes and businesses, completely destroyed,” he described of the towns and cities he traveled through. “People still recovering, you know, the bodies of loved ones… Every bridge and intersection you go through has sandbags and bunkers and guards. And, you know, the whole country is really in a defensive posture now because of what’s going on. So, it’s a scary place.”
“Every atrocity that happens, they get more defiant,” Sinclair said of the Ukrainians he has met. “They’re defending their homes, their beliefs, their county. It’s inspiring.”
Sinclair’s background as a Marine has certainly helped him navigate the warzones of Ukraine; but, his magic skills have come in handy, too.
“On the train back with the refugees, it certainly got some children to calm down a little bit,” Sinclair said. “I don’t generally work for kids, but a deck of cards can go a long way sometimes… To give somebody a sense of wonder for a few moments is kind of important, I think.”