Defending Ukraine Against All Odds
Yuriy Holovashchenko, commander of one of Ukraine's infantry brigade, is passionate about protecting his homeland no matter how many personal sacrifices he has to make
During Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, Yuriy Holovashchenko was serving as a commander of the mountain infantry bаttalion of the Marine Corps in the village of Perevalne. He was then betrayed by his superiors and peers. He resisted the invaders and organized the defense of his unit against the Russian military. He began evacuating military personnel and their families.
At the start of Russia’s hybrid war in Eastern Ukraine, Holovashchenko served in the airborne division. Later, he joined the special forces. Now, he is a commander of an infantry brigade.
His unit defends the village of Pisky, which is located in the suburbs of Donetsk. The Russian-backed militant forces have practically wiped the settlement from the face of the earth. The once wealthy suburb looks nothing like it used to. Holovashchenko says that the militants are not afraid that they are going to be punished for shelling a civilian settlement. They understand that there are not many civilians left there, so they keep shelling.
Ukrainian military personnel say that militant forces fire from residential districts of Donetsk. Holovashchenko says that they are unable to respond in a similar way to these attacks for fear of killing more civilians and destroying residential areas.
The brigade commander admits that war hardened him. Only when he speaks about Crimea, his look softens and he seems to relax for a short period. He dreams about going back to Crimea, but his main priority remains to defend Donbas against Russian hybrid forces. He says that he will protect millions of Ukrainain families living near the combat line, until peace has returned to the area.