Natalia Khorunzha, a 45-year-old medic in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, was killed as a result of shelling by Russian forces on Thursday, February 2, at the so-called “Svitlodarsk Bulge” near the Ukrainian-controlled town of Svitlodarsk. She was the first female military to be killed in the ATO ( Anti-Terrorist Operation) in 2017, reports ICTV.
Natalia was a junior sergeant in the 1st company of the 1st Battalion of the 54th Mechanized Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. She is survived by her husband, daughter, parents and sister.
She was killed when a Russian anti-tank guided missile struck the ambulance where she was tending the wounded. Also killed was Yuri Reva, a soldier from the 54th Brigade. The driver’s leg was torn off. He is now in critical condition in the hospital. As previously reported, fighting is becoming more intense along the entire front line, including the Svitlodarsk Bulge.
According to the ICTV channel, “Natalia died heroically while evacuating the wounded during fighting at the Svitlodarsk Bulge in the Luhansk region… She was retrieving the wounded under fire. She managed to put three in the ambulance and went back to get the other ones when the missile exploded near her. The men she retrieved yesterday survived with concussions. She was to receive an award but did not get it in time. Now she will receive it posthumously,” the ICTV statement concludes.
Liudmyla Kalinia, press officer in the Donbas Battalion, and Natalia’s friend Yulia Paievska, also a paramedic, confirmed Natalia’s death.
“She was killed while performing her duties, “Paievska wrote in Facebook. “The ‘Bulge’ has taken another victim, a pure soul on a combat mission. She died while retrieving the wounded… The man who launched the missile that killed the medics was a monster. Didn’t you see the Red Cross markings of the car?” Paievska added.
For many Ukrainian soldiers and volunteers, Natalia exemplified the heroism of Ukrainian women at the front
“She saved three men at the Svitlodarsk Bulge at the cost of her own life and was killed by a missile from Russian invaders,” wrote volunteer Nazar Prykhodko in Facebook. “This is a woman who died in combat, in battle! This is what the Ukrainian war of liberation looks like, where real Amazons are fighting along with the men,” he concluded.
Volunteer Yan Osyka of the Volunteer 200 group provided the most extensive report on Natalia and her impact in his Facebook posting on February 4.
“After learning the she had been killed, the guys from the brigade wept openly, not holding back tears. Some of them wept for the first time since the war began. The healthy ones wept as well as those with whom she had spent a lot of time when they were injured.
Natalia Oleksandrivna Khoruzha was born on June 9, 1972, in Pershotravensk in the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast. She lived in the small town of Prosiana in the Pokrovsky district. She graduated from the Medical School in Dnipro (formerly Dnipropetrovsk — Ed.) in 1990, after completing nurse training. She worked as a nurse in the Zelenyi Hai village and later married a man from Prosiana and moved there.
She was a sensitive woman, concerned about human suffering, a God-given medic. Saving people was the credo of her life, even at the cost of her own. She would rush out to help people at the first call, day or night. Family was everything to her, and duty to her conscience came first. She will remain an eternal example of the courage of a great woman, who did not abandon the wounded soldiers at a difficult time.
Natalia’s brother died tragically when he was in the 11th grade. This was a terrible blow for her and her parents from which the family never recovered completely. And now they will have to bury her. It is impossible even to imagine what is going on in the hearts of her parents now, and how their hearts have been broken into tiny pieces.
She went to war following her vocation. She could not watch the news and see these poor guys in hospitals, so she decided that she was needed there …
She was a junior sergeant, a nurse instructor from the 1st company of the 1st Battalion of the 54th Mechanized Brigade. She volunteered for the post of nurse-instructor in the company in order to always be present where her help was most needed …. She was both “mother” and psychologist. She drank tea and talked with each one of them. The guys had 100% trust in what she said. And if she described a situation as dangerous, everyone knew it was serious, not an exaggeration…
A Russian ‘Ivan’ saw the ambulance with the Red Cross and launched the missile that hit the target… Our guys will find you, Ivan. On you heart they will carve the name of this woman medic who was not holding a machine gun but only the hands of the wounded soldiers in order to ease their pain at least a bit.”