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  • Українці розповідають про пережите під час війни з росією

    Ukrainians talk about their experiences during the war with russia

    Volunteers provided the military with ammunition

    Anton Fortunatov: “Things that were scary to do before the war are not scary at all now. On the contrary, it’s scary not to do it”


    АвторAuthor: Yulia Zarudnitska | Translation:

    13 June 2022

    Anton Fortunatov is a resident of Kyiv. At the beginning of the war, he and his colleague organized a social and humanitarian hub where people could get help and provide it directly to those who need it.

    Before the war, I worked as a creative producer. One and a half months before the full-scale invasion, I got a job as a creative director at a company. Our team was involved in advertising and developing Internet sites, including YouTube. My pre-war everyday life was productive: I held various consultations on creativity for different brands that needed it; I dubbed movies and voiced commercials. In general, I created media content.

    On that historic and painful for all Ukrainians day, I woke up to the fact that many messages were coming to my phone and the number of incoming calls was bigger than usual. Generally, when resting, I set the mode to “Sleep.” Thus, the phone does not receive the first messages and calls. If that is a retry, the gadget will function as usual. It could be concluded that they called repeatedly…

    So after that, I immediately started calling my relatives. I was worried about their plans and goals. It was important to find out about their condition. It may sound strange, but I didn’t feel any fear and panic, and I don’t feel it now. I did not go to the shelter, nor even once, I have not gone anywhere and I am not going to. For a couple of days, I was looking for an answer to the question: what should I do? Should I strengthen the territorial defense but entirely without any specialized training, or should I help on the home front? It didn’t take a long time to make a decision. More precisely, in just three days, I went volunteering.

    Anton Fortunatov

    Photo from the personal archive of Anton Fortunatov

    Why did I start doing this? I just could not do otherwise. I could not stand aside from all this. I recently found the answer to the question I’ve been asking myself all my life: what do I want to do? And only now do I feel that I have found myself in 100%. Because I always wanted to be helpful to the world, and it’s like I had been preparing for this my whole life.

    “It’s not scary to help, it’s not scary to take responsibility. It’s scary not to do these things”

    On February 26 or 27, my companion Yevhen Pivovarov and I set to work. We started volunteering. That evening we decided to become independent and help not only from ourselves, but to make the whole organization. This is how overhelp.com.ua was created, and it involves many companies with whom we have worked in civilian life. Everyone tries to bring victory closer and helps as much as possible. We all try to be partners in this, to collaborate for effective work.

    At the busiest time in our so-called headquarters, there were 45 people. I think there are about 30 of them now, 10-12 of them are very active.

    Our organization has gained a very good reputation and results. And we continue to actively work on its development. We are working on this because we understand that we have the strength, resources, purpose, and irresistible desire to help. You work non-stop for a good reason. Do you know the feeling of laziness when you prefer to lie under a warm blanket than go to work? There is absolutely no such thing here. You are getting ready – you drive – you make it happen. 

    Holding aid for the Ukrainian military

    Anton Fortunatov with his companion. They are holding aid for the Ukrainian military

    We help Mariupol now. It’s a very complicated scheme, but we have already managed to get there twice and help people. Honestly, 90 days of war changed my consciousness and character very much. Things that were scary to do before the war are not scary at all now. It’s not scary to help, it’s not scary to take the lion’s share of responsibility. On the contrary, it’s scary not to do these things. 

    It was the peak point when the occupiers came closest to us

    One day, we were doing our job, volunteering, as usual. Our task was to deliver the parcel to the city of Brovary. We drove there. At the same time, the enemy troops were just approaching the city. It was the peak point when the occupiers came closest to us.

    So we met with people in the parking lot to hand over what was needed. And it hit very loudly. We hurriedly got in the car and set off as quickly as possible. We drove towards Kyiv, not paying attention to the traffic lights at all. Something happened to the car at some point, and the speed dropped sharply. We understood that it was impossible to stop because our vehicle could simply die out.

    Five tanks were coming toward us. Our Ukrainian tanks. My companion and I decide to just “dive” into the ditch. Fortunately, everything worked out and we proceeded on our way to Kyiv.  

    Volunteers provided the military with ammunition

    Anton Fortunatov, together with his companion, provided the military with ammunition

    In general, all trips to places where fighting takes place are too dramatic. They are imprinted in the memory forever and leave a mark. Information about my university buddy gave me an emotional outburst. His name is Maxym Medinskyi, and he recently heroically perished near Kharkiv. Enemy shells covered him.

    The war also affected my relatives

    My mother, my younger sister and her husband were in Slavutych, near Kyiv, that day. They were in the private sector, not in a high-rise building. In the house where I live, we heard a sound of an explosion. Literally, in the shortest period of time, my mother was calling me. Everyone was in tears and totally in panic.

    It turns out that the wreckage of the downed rocket fell in their yard. Half of the house was completely demolished, two cars looked like a sieve, and a dog was killed. The picture was terrifying. My relatives just miraculously survived. The cars were repaired, so they could at least drive them. It was a tense situation, but now everything is fine.

    Чому важливо поширити цю історію?
    Якщо українці не розповідатимуть свій погляд на війну в Україні, світ поступово забуватиме про нас. Натомість цим обов’язково скористаються росіяни. Тому не даймо їм жодного шансу.

    Why is it important to share this story?
    If Ukrainians do not share their views on the war in Ukraine, the world will gradually forget about us. Instead, the Russians will definitely take advantage of this. So let's not give them a chance.

    АвторAuthor: Yulia Zarudnitska | Translation:


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