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Prominent Ukrainian combat medic Iryna Tsybukh killed on Kharkiv front. Here’s her farewell letter

She was killed a few days before her 26th birthday.
Iryna Tsybukh. Source: Hospitallers Paramedics
Iryna Tsybukh. Source: Hospitallers Paramedics
Prominent Ukrainian combat medic Iryna Tsybukh killed on Kharkiv front. Here’s her farewell letter

Iryna Tsybukh, 25, a well-known Ukrainian combat medic of the Hospitallers Medical Battalion and Suspilne media outlet project manager, was killed on the Kharkiv front, her battalion said on social media.

The medic was killed on 29 May, a few days before her 26th birthday. Tsybukh evacuated wounded soldiers from the battlefield and had earlier created media projects on cities in Donetsk Oblast captured by Russian troops, as per 24tv. 

Iryna Tsybukh. Source: UkrInform

“It seems like a dream. It seems that soon you’ll get in touch and we’ll hear your voice… Yesterday, during a rotation on the Kharkiv front, our Cheka – Hospitaller, Iryna Tsybukh, passed away. Just a few days before her birthday.

We have no words. No one still believes what happened. This is unspeakable pain and an incredible loss not only for the battalion but for all of Ukraine,” her colleagues said. 

On 16 November 2023, Tsybukh received an award from the President of Ukraine — the Order of Merit.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed condolences to the closest of Tsybukh over the medic’s death.

“Yesterday on the Kharkiv front, Iryna Tsybukh, a combat medic of the ‘Hospitallers,’ died in the war — one of those who not only defended the state but did everything to involve others: trained them and taught them to be effective,” he said. 

Here are some quotes by Iryna Tsybukh:

  • “War is the worst place I have ever been, but it grants a ticket to real life, to the world of genuine independence. It tattoos the understanding of the transience of existence.”
  • “I want children. I want a house. I want to plant tomatoes… but ending the war is the most important thing.”
  • “We need a strategy of memory… Memory shapes society… We need to do it not for ourselves but for future generations. We remember not for the dead, for they have already passed away. We need to do it for those who will know about it in the future. We know it best because we are participants in these events. But there will be many people who will not remember them like we do.”
  • “Is this society worthy of the deeds of fallen heroes? The most important thing is the deed itself. Stories are meant to teach us to fight for justice, to punish evil, and to sacrifice ourselves for others. And if others did not deserve it, then it’s just a part of history, emphasizing the courage and truthfulness of the main hero.”

The medic’s younger brother has shared a farewell letter she wrote over a year ago while she was working with the reconnaissance unit of the 80th Separate Air Assault Brigade.

“I feel emptiness right now, but Irina has something to say; she left a farewell letter,” he wrote.

Yurii Tsybukh posted the letter on Instagram, expressing his grief over the loss of his dear sister and best friend.

“Hello. Accept my condolences. I don’t like seeing you mourn, but time and this despair will pass, and we’ll have to continue living life. So don’t waste time suffering; live on.

It’s currently 19:19 on Saturday, 8 April 2023. I’m with the 5th crew working for the reconnaissance of the 80th brigade. The song “Dream On” by Aerosmith is playing in the background. I’ve decided that over this year, there have been so many chances to die that I could find at least one to write a posthumous letter.

It’s sad that we live so helpless, dependent on society’s approval of life, that only death allows absolute freedom. However, the tragedy is that life has ended, and this freedom no longer holds any meaning. Today and forevermore, I don’t care what people will say about me, about you, about this text, about anything. Whether these sentences receive likes or not, finally, nobody’s opinion interests me; I’m dead.

Freedom is the highest value. For almost 25 years, I often found myself amidst complexes and fears. But most of the time, this noise didn’t have a place before my freedom. I want to thank myself, my parents, my brother, my relatives, and my friends for allowing me to be free and to live the life I wanted.

The full-scale war forced me to stop being a slave to fear. Unfortunately, today, I haven’t fully managed to break free, but I hope I will. This letter is my aid in that.

To have freedom, you need other values too; you need to understand yourself, know well who you are to yourself, what personal happiness is, and how to achieve it. Having the answers to these questions, the most important thing remains: to move forward. Today, here in Donetsk Oblast, I’m on the path of being myself and doing what I want. Nothing else really matters anymore, so this letter is attached so simply—at this moment, just as when it happens, I don’t mind dying because I’m finally living the life I want. I won’t lie; to feel this inevitable, true freedom, I’ll have to go through many therapy sessions, fears, and tears.

Today, all is behind me, and my life has come to an end. It was important for me to live it honorably: to be honest, kind, and loving. Today, we work for the heroes, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to reaffirm our values – to be truly human.

Thank you to everyone who loved and supported me. Don’t mourn me; life is very short, and if it continues after death, we’ll meet again.

Brother, don’t worry. By your 17th birthday, I stopped worrying about you. Today, you had your first tour of princely Lviv, and I’m proud of you. Whatever you decide to be today, trust yourself, listen to yourself, love yourself, and live your happy life. If I have the opportunity, I’ll support you from above. But that doesn’t matter, as long as I was alive, we loved each other, we were wonderful siblings, those were good times, let those memories warm you, motivate you, but never discourage you.

To have the strength to be a free person, you have to be brave. Only the brave have happiness, and it’s better to die running than to live rotting. Be worthy of our heroes’ exploits; don’t grieve; be brave!

Kisses, yours

08.04.23 Donetsk region.”

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