A cool nation

16 January, 03:40 PM

Ukrainians are so stubborn that they will fight till the end

This material was published in the New Voice’s special edition magazine, The World Ahead 2023, with exclusive license from The Economist. Republication is forbidden.

I always tried to help everyone, especially when it comes to force majeures. And life is going a such way that there were many different cases of this. After the Revolution of Dignity and the first Russian invasion of Ukraine, it became clear that doctors were urgently needed at the front. In 2014-2015, everything was very bad with the medical system and the number of doctors on the front. So I saw my main task as this. at first, as a volunteer, I created the volunteer medical unit “Taira’s Angels", which functioned during the capture the enemy’s capture of Mariupol, and as a commander of the evacuation department of the 61st Mobile Hospital, I served two years under the Armed Forces. And after February 24, 2022, I assisted in Mariupol, in hospital No. 555 with triage and simple procedures - dressings and preparation for more serious treatment of wounds.

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Despite all the difficulties, society is not exhausted

Thanks to the significant experience of that previous war, I can very quickly understand what a wounded person needs, how severe the injury is, what condition the patient is in and what step I should take. This is triage — a large stream of the wounded to navigate without hesitation and determine who is critical (and probably will not survive), heavy, moderate, and light. First of all, help is provided to the seriously injured, then to the moderately injured, and only after them to the critical cases, in order to save as many people as possible. So I was able to lessen the burden on doctors a little at this stage, when every pair of hands by weight of gold.

After Russian aviation began to bomb the half-a-million strong city of Mariupol — civilian structures, houses, hospitals — it became clear that it was not just a war. This is genocide.

I had to experience captivity, when you are put into terrible conditions in order to cause distress to a person, to offend them. The [prison guards] were constantly mocking us, making snide comments, and beating us. I’m not even talking about the interrogations and torture. As a result of many years of massive propaganda, Russians have completely changed their consciousness — they are used to accepting ready-made answers, stereotypes, and simply repeat them one after another. They were told that Ukrainians are all nazis and fascists, and they don't even try to find out if it's true. They just take [the propaganda’s] word for it. And they hate us.

After such difficult trials, anyone will change their attitude towards life. Those who were on the brink of death understand that life is full and sensational. I enjoy the scenery, the air, the food, the company of friends. Many things took a back seat, and much more acutely than before, I feel that everyone has their own limit: someone has more strength, someone less. Everyone can do as much as they can. It is not necessary to squeeze people and set too high demands, especially when it comes to war. Everything depends on training, physical training, tactical awareness, and psychological stability. And if a person is not ready, for example, to march 30 km, you should not expect it from them.

But the persistence of Ukrainians is impressive. Despite all the difficulties (it will soon be the tenth year of the war), society is not exhausted. Of course, there is fatigue, but there is no exhaustion. People are so stubborn that they will fight till the end.

When I returned from my trips abroad, where I talk about what is happening in the occupied territories, how the Russians treat prisoners, prisoners of war, civilians, that no agreements are being fulfilled, I'm asking people not to stop, to continue helping [Ukraine], providing us with weapons, air defense , financial support, and consultations. When I’m coming back, every time I see women with children returning home and telling me that we can no longer stay [in Europe], not because it is bad, but because we want to be in Ukraine, to be with our country, to be with everyone. And even when I say that winter is coming, and there will be shelling, and there will be no electricity, there may not be heating, and maybe you should think about your less than year-old child, maybe you should stay at least until spring, they reply: "No, I'll be back." This fantastic devotion of Ukrainians is amazing.

And also - the ability to clearly identify the enemy, at the level of instinct, when even you cannot explain how it happens. A common enemy in principle united the nation as a whole. The percentage of those who don't care has decreased. Even our most important feature, our beloved national sport, srachi, has acquired a constructive color. Now we are arguing about who has done more for the military. And for me, this is the biggest breakthrough - when, after the Maidan, our ability to help, lend a shoulder, work together for one result, if necessary, was demonstrated once again.

I remember 2014, I see 2022 and understand that we have every chance to put an end to the several-hundred-year history of this confrontation.

Let's work for victory and see how things turn out. But, I think, Ukrainians will become an absolutely cool nation that will be able to build a new country. Not to rebuild the old one, but to build a fundamentally new one — where there will be no place for thieves, bribers, where everything is legal and fair. This is what I would really like and I believe that everything will happen. We must move forward, into the future, unlike the Russian authorities, which are trying to drag us into the past. I think that Ukraine is capable of this and that Ukrainians will definitely be able to do it.

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