Military Doctor Saved 85 Soldiers
Vsevolod Stebliuk is a military doctor who saved dozens of lives on the front line. After returning to Kyiv, he decided to help Ukrainian soldiers recover and return to everyday life
On this day in 2014, he along with other volunteers, arrived at the Novi Petrivtsi military base near Kyiv to form a battalion. He went to the front line a few months later.
“On July 11, 2014, we left for liberated Sloviansk. At first, it was officially registered that I was there to teach them. Later, I asked them to send me to the battalion. Thus, I became a volunteer twice,” Stebliuk said.
His fellow servicemen nicknamed him “Doctor Aybolit,” a character from children’s poems.
“Just before we left for the city of Popasna to carry out an assault, the deputy battalion commander had called us. He forgot my number and said ‘Hey, Doctor Aybolit, come to the observatory’ – which is headquarters,” Stebliuk said, “There was a situation where I pretended that I was the terrible ‘Doctor Aybolit,’ interrogating the militants’ informer. We decided to play and (they) said ‘He doesn’t want to provide any information. Ask our Aybolit to come.’ I put on a work apron, contaminated it with ketchup or tomato paste. I was terrible, wearing a mask and carrying a bowl with tools. And I said, ‘So, what?'”
But one of his most memorable stories took place near the town of Ilovaisk, in the Donetsk Region.
“All the volunteer battalions of the Interior Ministry were brought there. There were the units of the Armed Forces there. We entered Ilovaisk on Independence Day when we already knew that the Russian regular troops had also entered it. At that time, when a beautiful parade was held at Kyiv’s Khreshchatyk Street, we were entering the Ilovaisk depot,” Stebliuk said, “There were five days of defense. And later, there was a corridor there. General Ruslan Khomchiak made the only appropriate decision for a warrior. His order was ‘Fight! Go ahead!’ And we went ahead. The military convoy was defeated, we were also blown up. Nine wounded and I were in the vehicle. Then, when the battle ended, the Russians started inspecting the territory and they killed those with severe wounds. And then, when everything was over, a Russian officer came there, along with paratroopers. I decided that I had to save everyone. I threw out a bulletproof vest and a helmet. Then I took out a vest I used to wear during the Maidan Revolution. It was with the Ukrainian Red Cross emblem. It was agreed that I would take away the wounded. I had to be in a hurry since the terrorists from Novorossiya had already come there and carried out sweep-up operations,” he said.
Vsevolod Stebliuk saved at least 85 soldiers. On the day when Ukraine remembers its volunteer fighters, he pays tribute to soldiers killed in action near St Michael’s Cathedral in Kyiv.
“I am now the deputy head of the Military Medical Academy. My work is connected with the training of military doctors and military psychologists. We deal with several areas. My wife and I launched a project to study shell shock. Since 2016, we have examined more than 600 soldiers. From time to time, we arrive at the war zone, at least two times a year. And we carry out training for the staff of field hospitals, doctors and psychologists of the brigades” he said.
Vsevolod still considers himself to be a volunteer. Today, you would be likely to find him once again working at the military hospital, where he, together with a team, help other war veterans return to civilian life.