Very often we go hand in hand to the assaults. Going to such actions, we know and the Ukrainian soldiers know that we will not return in full, that not everyone will return – said Damian Duda, head of the Polish team of battlefield medics “In the meantime”, in “Fakty po Faktach” on TVN24. – With the sun rising, the shelling starts automatically. Everything starts flying around my head. Shards are starting to chop space, leaves, he reported.
Damian Duda, who returned a week ago with Ukraine spoke in Thursday’s “Fakty po Faktach” on TVN24 about the counteroffensive of Ukrainian soldiers and the work of a team of medics. – We are quite a specific group of medics, because we work on the front line. Together with the guys, we often go to the assaults side by side. Going to such activities, we know and the boys know that we will not come back in full, that not all will come back – he said.
He added that this was also the case during his last stay. – We’re not all back. Some of our colleagues died, some of our colleagues were wounded. The evacuation action was quite a dramatic action, because for seven kilometers we carried the boys on our own hands, not knowing whether we would bring them alive, he reported.
He said that Ukrainian soldiers “are aware that this will happen.” – Where do they get their strength from? They know they can’t do otherwise. They know that whether victory comes or not, they have no other choice. If they do not stop the Russians, if the Russians move forward, Irpin, Bucha and Izum – this will happen again – he added, recalling the names of Ukrainian towns where Russian soldiers committed crimes against civilians.
REPORT ON TVN24.PL: Russia’s attack on Ukraine >>>
Duda: With the sun rising, the shelling begins
Duda emphasized that in such conditions, medics must keep their emotions in check. – We must, when it depends on our hands whether this person will survive or not, focus on the task and work in task mode – he said. “Fortunately, so far it has been successful.” Fortunately, emotions have not taken over so far. And only when, during the last action, we transferred the victim to the ambulance, when we knew that he was alive, we could sit under the tree, take off the helmet and just cry. Let those emotions out, he said.
When asked how his day begins when he is on duty there, the guest of “Fakty po Faktach” replied that “there is no one permanent pattern”. – Very often these activities take place at night. Very often these activities take place during the day. Very often, we go to the battlefield earlier at night, in order to be on it as soon as the day breaks, to approach secretly, unnoticed by Russian drones. With the sun rising, the shooting starts automatically. Everything starts flying around my head. Shards start to chop the space, leaves – said Duda.
– We are waiting, nestled in the ground, until this signal, when we know that a colleague is injured, that there is a soldier who needs our help – he added.
“During the last action, we lost the contents of the medical backpack in half an hour”
He said that the dynamics of the action depended on how the opponent acted. “Once it starts, it all happens very quickly. During the last action, the content of the medical backpack, which we calculated for the day of operation, was lost in half an hour. After half an hour it turned out that we have practically nothing in our backpack, and we still have wounded, we still have injured. There was no way for someone to bring us new equipment, because the Russians were destroying everything that came up and burning everything. We have already reached the stage where we had to work with one needle on one injured person, because we did not have any more funds – reported the head of the Polish team of battlefield medics. “This operation lasted 12 hours and it felt like a year for us.”
Duda: We happened to help the enemy
The TVN24 guest was asked if he had ever helped a wounded Russian. – We happened to help the enemy, we happened to help those who may have shot at us a moment ago. The Ukrainians provide this help, the Ukrainians take care of the prisoners, he said.
– There are still emotions, there is still anger, there is still awareness that you are not treating your friend, but the ability to help the enemy, the ability to help the one who shot at you a moment ago, is a measurable signal for us that we are still people – he added .
Ukrainians “decided to stay in a city that was a grave for them”
He also talked about how civilians deal with a difficult situation. – I dealt with civilians in Bakhmut until he fell. We practically left Bakhmut at the very end and there we met a large number of civilians who, despite everything, decided to stay in a city that was dying, which was a grave for them – he said.
– There were even situations where we buried these civilians on the lawns so that their bodies would not decompose on the street. It’s hard for us to say what motivated these people to stay, to decide to stay in a place that could be their grave. We tried to help as much as we could, both medically and with resources, food and water, he added.
Duda: without a car, an armored personnel carrier, the victim will die in the field
Duda also mentioned what Ukrainians need. – First of all, technical means, cars, 4×4 cars, armored personnel carriers. Without armored equipment, without cars, there is no possibility of medical evacuation, there is no possibility of rapid movement of subdivisions – he stressed.
– I know we’re tired of helping. I know that it seems to us that since the right number of cars and aid has been sent for a year, this should do the trick. But the survivability of a car on the front line is about half an hour to an hour if there is intense fighting. And that fight is still going on there. Without a car, without an armored personnel carrier, the victim will die in the field, because he will not be evacuated – he said.
He added that “the continuity of supplying the Ukrainian army with technical means, combat means and battlefield medicine is needed.”
Main photo source: TVN24