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Ukrainian soldier loses leg in battle, crawls kilometer to freedom

When a grenade blew off his leg in a battle near Donetsk, Ukrainian soldier Serhii still crawled a kilometer to safety. Thanks to his resilience, Serhii is already training to walk on the prosthesis and dreams of riding his favorite sport bike, which is waiting for him at home
Ukrainian defender Serhii. Credit: Ukraine’s Ministry of Health
Ukrainian soldier loses leg in battle, crawls kilometer to freedom

Serhii joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine right after the outbreak of Russia’s full-scale invasion. The soldier fought back the enemy with his comrades-in-arms until he was wounded at positions near the village of Pisky, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine’s Ministry of Health said.

According to Serhii, it was a tough battle. Ukrainian 36th Marine Brigade lost its positions. However, the defenders had to regain the territory.

“The first combat started with an attack from a hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher. The fighters were instantly under enemy fire, and close combat with small arms began. One of Serhii’s comrades died on the spot, the second had his limbs blown off, and the third he never saw again. Then Serhii was hit by shrapnel – a grenade exploded at a distance of two meters. His bulletproof vest saved him from death,” the Ministry of Health wrote.

Serhii said that Russians attacked them with various weapons, and the only thing they did not use that day was aircraft.

Despite the injury, Serhii assisted his comrades. A drone attack began at that moment, dropping grenades on Ukrainian positions. That’s how Serhii lost his leg. Toward the end of the battle, Russian troops attacked from a tank to finish off those who survived, the defender said, recalling that day.

“At the time, evacuating was impossible, so the defender got out on his own, crawling as if from hell. To avoid bleeding to death, he put on three tourniquets. And so, with all his injuries and a torn leg, Serhii crawled about one kilometer, reaching the positions from which he was transported to the hospital,” the Ministry of Health said, citing Serhii.

But then the hardest time began. After the surgery, Serhii began to experience severe phantom pains in his leg, which was amputated below the knee. Serhii says that his subconscious seems to be trying to find a lost body part. He received painkillers first every two hours and then every four. For the first four weeks, he hardly slept at all.

Later, Serhii was admitted to the Rivne Regional Hospital for War Veterans, still undergoing rehabilitation. His path was difficult, but having received a prosthesis, thanks to his perseverance and resilience, the warrior is already trying to walk without crutches and is fighting for his life daily.

Serhii says he loves speed, and his favorite sports bike awaits him at home. He also told about his dream of buying a house by the river somewhere in Kyiv or Vinnytsia oblasts and starting his own business.

He was extremely impressed by how ordinary people, volunteers, who helped and continue to help, came together. Serhii expresses his gratitude to them and admires how strong Ukrainians are, Ukraine’s Ministry of Health said.

The soldier says he has spoken Russian all his life and is fluent in Ukrainian today. He says that actually, everyone knows Ukrainian because “it has been with us since birth, in our hearts.”

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