When we talk about the boundless heroism of Ukrainians, we sometimes forget about the price they pay for defending their homeland. Especially those who were not professional soldiers. They were civilians before the attack. Suddenly they found themselves in hell. There is no psyche that could endure this without any losses.
The war in Ukraine is not only a tragedy for the entire nation, but also the individual dramas of the soldiers sent to the front. – I have nightmares at night. It’s exhausting. I would like to rest, but I cannot sleep because I am afraid. I came here a month ago. I still feel like I’m in a movie. After admission, they diagnosed that I had two concussions and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder – says “DJ”, a soldier of the 67th Mechanized Brigade.
From one day to the next, the everyday reality of soldiers became the reality of war – including gunfire, which can be heard almost every moment in Ukraine. – We were under fire constantly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Mortars, tanks, infantry vehicles, aviation. Everyone was shooting at us. With everything they had. The worst situation was on the front in Kupiansk. It’s the most terrifying place – admits “DJ”.
A completely new reality
Almost every day, soldiers defending the country are exposed to situations that directly threaten their lives. – We were driving. I remember that we had the hatches open. Suddenly we felt a powerful impact, causing my helmet to fall off my head. It got dark. Then sparks started shooting, recalls Vitaly, a soldier of the 3rd Assault Brigade.
For many of the soldiers, going to the front meant a complete change in their lives. Those who previously returned to their family waiting at home after work now had to learn to live completely differently. As they admit, they did not expect that their reality would ever change so dramatically. – Ukraine has an army composed of mobilized civilians who just yesterday were teachers, artists, IT specialists and workers. We didn’t have time to prepare them for what they would encounter, explains Dana Vynohradova, deputy commander of the 67th Relief Brigade.
However, despite the fact that bombs are falling all around, explosions are heard every now and then, and the vision of returning to normal life is still distant – the Ukrainian heroes try to maintain positive thinking. They also prove that there is still room for dreams on the battlefield. – I have the same dreams as everyone else. I would like nothing more than to return home, but for now my conscience won’t let me. First we have to do what we have to do, says Andrei, a military paramedic and former office worker.
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Main photo source: Reuters