Hello there, my name is Mykhailo. Before the war, I was trained and worked as a lawyer in Kharkiv. I had also tried some attempts at developing my own business, having managed a clothing store.
The war changed all that. I served in the security forces for more than a year, before decommissioning not so long ago due to health reasons.
I am anticipating the Young Veterans Ukraine project to enhance my communication in PR skills, which are essential in running a successful business. I am currently developing a business idea in the health services, and expect to find funding for it with the help of the Project.
Institutionalised rehabilitation of young veterans and IDPs though entrepreneurial activity serves as a model in the overall resilience of the Ukrainian economy and rehabilitation of the society.
Ivan, please share, what was your path to a full-scale invasion and the decision to replenish the ranks of the Armed Forces? What did you do? After all, I know that you lived in Belgium for 5 years, where you served in the French Legion. Can we please tell you more about serving in the French Legion? Considering that you already had your own business, why did you decide to go into the military?
I lived in Europe for a total of 21 years, most of the time in Belgium, where I actually studied, worked and built my own business. He served in the French Legion for several years and lived in Holland for a while. I actually served in the legion immediately after school. Then I started working and in half a year I got a good position in the office of a logistics company, but I realized that office work according to the schedule is not for me. That's why I decided to look for adventure. Recently, before the full-scale invasion, he was engaged in business in various fields, from construction and cleaning to business consulting on running a small business.
In the end, what became the main prerequisite for returning to Ukraine? How did you see your own prospects in your homeland? It is noted that you were actively helping Ukraine in the medical field, in particular during the pandemic. Can you please share this in more detail?
I stayed in Ukraine during the coronavirus quarantine period. It was the first time in many years that I spent several months in Ukraine and she did not let me go. I began to live in two countries and transfer the business to remote control. Also, during the pandemic, a charitable project in the medical direction was formed on the basis of the company I ran with my partner, a unique Ukrainian surgeon who has also lived in Belgium for many years. We managed to deliver ventilators and oxygen generators to various hospitals in the Ternopil region. After the end of the pandemic and especially at the beginning of the full-scale invasion, they switched to VAK therapy, my friend Ihor is a great specialist in this field. We brought devices to the VAK and Igor taught them how to use them. This therapy is now saving the limbs of our defenders. By the way, I myself was lying under one of those devices that came from Belgium.
Let's return to the decision to defend our native lands at the front. How did your life change later? First of all, how did you feel about your own mission in the war? Can you please clarify when you became a defender of Ukraine? You started talking very sincerely about your brothers, so I'm very interested in what it means to you on the battlefield? How does it help? (there may be specific stories)
First of all, there is a sense of responsibility for fellow citizens. Regardless of what reasons a person decides to go fight in battle, you fight for your brothers on your right and on your left, because you understand that you can only count on them. And they are counting on you too.
I have been in service since April 2022. During the first weeks of the full-scale invasion, he was involved in the evacuation of civilians to the border and a number of volunteer projects. A sibling is someone you can rely on even more than yourself. Because one is not a warrior in the field. I'm sure this brotherhood is our number one weapon against this orc onslaught. I was wounded, blown up by an anti-personnel mine while carrying a wounded comrade on a stretcher. After they put a tourniquet on me and informed me about the injury, my fellow "Gypsy" took me on his shoulders and carried me. After 200 meters, he also stepped on a mine, we both fell to the ground. This time I put a tourniquet on him. With the help of our comrades, who removed the first wounded man from the stretcher and took him on his shoulders, we staggered over a kilometer to the evacuation vehicle.
For you personally, what was the most important challenge and at the same time the most memorable moment on the front line?
Of course, I will never forget how I got injured and how we went to the evacuation. For me, Bakhmut is the moments of life that will be remembered forever.
Are you ready to talk about some of these points? (of course not revealing a military secret and not talking about the general situation. only your personal living of these moments)
Let's return to the tragedy, which became a turning point for you and, overcoming which, you won the right to a second life. Do you remember the day you were injured?
Yes, it happens.
Are you ready to talk about that day, or the last memory before getting injured?☝️
Please share, how are you now? In the end, having seen with his own eyes the cruel pictures of the war, what is the most disturbing: the physical state or, after all, the moral state?
Of course, after seeing the brutal pictures of the war, it does not go away without a trace, both morally and physically. But, for me personally, the most difficult thing today is my physical condition. In the process of rehabilitation and adaptation to it, there are difficulties in accepting the fact that you have very little influence on the process, you can try, make efforts, but recovery takes time. I want to get back on my feet as soon as possible and return to the boys.
Now you are going through an equally difficult stage - rehabilitation. Tell me, have you ever had to make plans for the future? Do they relate to the continuation of the military cause? What is your point of support as of today?
I clearly know what I want, namely to return to the service. But during treatment and rehabilitation, I realized that such processes cannot be planned, so I trusted the doctors.
I know that you got married in the summer. Please share, what is your love story that grew into a family in wartime?
We met my wife a week before the full-scale war, but very quickly realized that we wanted to build a future together. Although, in current realities, it was a long-distance relationship, we decided to sign off and did so at the end of September.
Today, I feel strong because of the confidence of a wonderful future. And thanks to the understanding of how Ukrainian society has changed during this time. This gives me confidence in our future struggle.
Your path is an illustrative story of a true Ukrainian who did not leave Ukraine with a background abroad, but went to defend the Motherland. Do you have any words for Ukrainians that can be an instruction to continue the struggle? First of all, regarding the war, the importance of defending one's own mission to defend the state.
This war is of great importance not only for Ukraine, but also for the whole world. It points to the basic values and norms of Western countries. The struggle for freedom, democracy and truth is a priority for modern man. This is not only a war between Russia and Ukraine - it is a war of everyone who seeks peace, justice and a bright future for themselves and their descendants. This is a real war between good and evil, which we have been told about since childhood. I believe that we should be proud of the fact that it was our fate to defend these values for the whole world.