АвторAuthor: Yulia Zarudnitska | Translation:
27 June 2022
In the first days of the invasion Mikhailo Lavrovsky went to the military registration and enlistment office to enlist in the ranks of territorial defense. Padding the doorsteps for several days, standing in long lines, he didn’t get any results. About leaving vain attempts, Mykhailo continued to engage in humanitarian aid and then felt the need to help more actively. Through acquaintances he learned that the medical team needs a driver. This was a great opportunity for him.
I was born in Kyiv, spent most of my life in Vinnytsia, studied in Chernivtsi. In 2017 I returned to the city where I saw the world at first. I held the position of director of the analytical center of Institute of Economic Leadership. Our institute is engaged in development and advancement of bills to increase economic freedom in Ukraine. I lived a normal life: stood in traffic jams with all of Kyiv on the way to the job, ordered food to the office and went to the gym in the evening.
The beginning of a full-scale war I watched so to speak live. After work on February 23, I went to the gym for training until 11 p.m., then stopped by friends and we planned a trip to my parents in Vinnytsia for the weekend. The decision was due to the fact that I closely watched the news for the last month and it was clear that a full-scale offensive would likely be. Until the end, no one believed that Russia would still attack full-scale.
Almost at the entrance to Vinnytsia I received a message from one the channel’s telegrams that Putin was speaking live. Given the time of day, everything immediately became clear. However, the brain still refused to accept words about “the military operation” and “denazification and demilitarization” of Ukraine. I will remember these words for the rest of my life. When Putin had just finished his sick address my girlfriend received a call from her friend from Kharkiv. She cried and explosions were heard in the background. So full-scale war began for me. I called my mom and just said “It started! They began bombing Ukrainian cities!”
Next weeks I did a lot of things. On February 24, my friends and I launched the first telegram bot in Ukraine to gather information about the movement of Russian troops “Isn’t ours”. Thanks to it, we were able to pass a lot of useful information to our military. Also, I helped the Ukrainian defense a lot. Together with foreign colleagues we raised a large amount of money which was spent on the purchase of cars, medicines and remedies. However, it always seemed to me that this was not enough.
In the first days of the invasion I went to the military registration and enlistment office to enlist in the ranks of territorial defense. Padding the doorsteps for several days, standing in long lines, I didn’t get any results. About leaving vain attempts I continued to engage in humanitarian aid. But always kept in mind the idea that I want to help more active. Although I had never served in the military, I had weapons skills but they were clearly not enough to rush into battle immediately.
Having many friends trained by the Medical battalion “Hospitallers” I have always considered joining them. Moreover, saving lives was more important to me than taking them away. When my friend said she was joining the “Hospitallers” and their crew lacks a driver and a car, without hesitation I decided to join them. I’m a good driver. I have a suitable vehicle for that area and the challenges they have.
Having completed a basic course in helping the wounded in Kyiv and equip my car with everything I need I went to my crew in Donetsk. Our main task is to save the lives of Ukrainian soldiers although civilians often have to be helped. The crew consists of two cars and six people.
Medevac is a full-fledged ambulance which is equipped with everything necessary to support the life of the wounded. Casevac is basically all-wheel drive jeep or pickup that picks up the wounded from the battlefield and delivers to medevac’s transfer point. We take the wounded from the battlefield while Russian troops stand in 400 – 700 meters from us so we always have to act fast. Usually we don’t spend more than a minute from the moment of entry to the point of evacuation until the moment of departure from there. The enemy troops see our movement and if you linger long at one point you can easily come under fire.
Despite our non-combatant status, in accordance with the Geneva Convention, doctors for Russians is one of the priority goals. The most difficult in the evacuation at night because we have to drive without headlights in the dark. The roads here are broken by Russian artillery and the chances of running into an unbroken hail sticking out of the road are very high. Visibility in such conditions is not more than 5 – 10 meters, and we always have to go fast, because both the life of the wounded and ours depend on it.
War is the best and the worst thing that has happened to us. But we will pass this test with honor and dignity.
The worst thing in this war is artillery. Most of the injuries and deaths are form it. And this is the thing that you have no control over and from which it is difficult to hide, especially, when you’re on a mission. It’s scary to come to the evacuation point and see there a funnel from the explosion and realize that you could stand there. Russians also use banned cassettes and phosphorus weapons. These people have neither honor nor conscience.
In general, fear recedes into the background when you understand that the lives of both the crew and the wounded depend on your actions. The motto of our battalion for the sake of every life. And that is what we are doing here. It’s not easy to be a volunteer. Our existence depends solely on the voluntary contributions of caring people. Each of us is here at the call of the heart.
When I see how much each of us is ready to give I am convinced that Ukraine’s victory in this war is only a matter of time. War is the best and the worst thing that has happened to us. And we will pass this test with honor and dignity.
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: