Article by: Olha Vykhovanska and Zynoviy Aftanas in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast
Ihor Leshchynsky spent two weeks in captivity, came back home and then returned to the East.
The story of this 19-year-old disabled orphan from the Carpathian region impressed all of us. Not only does Ihor collect humanitarian aid for Ukrainian soldiers, but he also gives them his last penny of savings.
Our reporters met with this unique young man….
A tiny three-square-meter room that was formerly used as a summer kitchenette… This is where Ihor Leshchynsky now lives.
Two years ago, Ihor left the orphanage and was virtually homeless; he was then sheltered by some kind village people.
“I didn’t have much room, but I took him in just the same, because I saw that he was a good person and had nowhere to live. Then I said to him: “Come on, Ihorchyk (term of endearment-Ed.), you’ll stay with me in my home.” – says Hanna Khoma, a resident of the village of Korshiv.
Though the room is cold, and the ceiling is so low that it is impossible for a man to stand without bending over, Ihor does not complain. He doesn’t even think about that.
“We tried to make the place a little prettier… wallpaper, rugs, laminate flooring. It changed the picture. The military uniform is mine; I wear it when I travel to the ATO zone.” – explains Ihor.
He does not go to the eastern regions to fight. The military draft board refused to take him as he has third-category disability.
So, Ihor decided that he would help the Ukrainian army.
He transported essential commodities periodically to the Aidar battalion, some of whom he had got to know during the Maidan.
Then he was captured.
“The organizer betrayed me. She called up the Chechens and that was it… They grabbed my passport, hands on my head, pushed me onto the floor, put a bag over my head, handcuffed me and took me away for questioning. They stuck small wires into my legs, applied electric shocks, they hit me with a belt, kicked me and tortured me; they knocked my teeth out. When this war is over, I’ll have them repaired.” – recounts former prisoner, Ihor Leshchynsky.
The boy returned home after prisoners were exchanged. He spent several weeks in hospital.
As soon as his wounds and injuries had healed, he began helping the Ukrainian army.
Even strangers now trust Ihor with their donations. The young man collects everything and records all the details in a notebook.
Recently he donated all his savings that he had been setting aside for a small apartment.
“I donated 23,000 (hryvnias) for our boys… they need uniforms, boots, European equipment. I’m going to take care of all that now.” – says Ihor.
Ihor is registered at the local Center for Social Services. He gets his disability and pension payments at the Center, and it was here that authorities refused to let him enlist in the army.
But, then they realized that it was useless trying to stop Ihor.
“I really don’t know what he’s thinking, what’s churning in his heart. But what I do know is that he truly loves Ukraine. Ihor respects those guys fighting over there. He collects humanitarian aid and delivers it to the East.” – states Bohdan Savliuk , a social worker.
The Center is looking for accommodations for Ihor and his brother, who was also brought up in an orphanage. The funds should be allocated from regional and municipal budgets.
However, Ihor is not thinking about that yet. He is getting ready for another dangerous trip to the eastern zone, with another batch of much-needed aid for ATO units.
Translated by: Christine Chraibi