Several hundred people fell on their knees before the coffins of two Aidar fighters during the memorial service held at Ploshcha Nezlezhnosti (Independence Square)in Kyiv.
Mykola Kuliba from Rivne was known as “Uncle Kolya”. He went to war two years ago with a group of men that he formed during the Revolution of Dignity. He was commander of a military division. His friends and brothers remember him fondly:
“Uncle Kolya was his call sign. He used to be a captain in the police force. He was a good man. He never called his boys by their name, but referred to them fondly as “my sons”. He took care of everyone, found volunteers, dug up clothes for his men, protected them, and was always first in line.”
Serhiy Baula, a volunteer fighter from Kyiv, was known as “Raven”. He spent almost a year and a half at the front. His friends remember him warmly:
“Serhiy was always laughing. We asked him why he laughed so much… “I never go into combat without a smile!”- he would say jokingly.”
Both men were on a combat mission near Mariyinka when their vehicle hit an anti-tank mine and exploded. Kyiv citizens and demobilized soldiers came to pay their respects to the two heroes.
According to official statistics, May 24 was the deadliest day in 2016: seven Ukrainian soldiers were killed and nine wounded.