Day of the Volunteer on Donbas Frontline
Five years later many of the volunteers who went to defend Ukraine in 2014 still serve in the Armed Forces
“There were regular Russian military units. I personally saw them 400-to-600 meters away,” Dobrenkyi said.
In one instance, it took Ukrainian soldiers more than two days to break out of an enemy encirclement. Throughout that entire time, Serhiy was carrying 8 kilograms of Ukrainian money; equivalent to around $95,000.
“It was bonuses for the soldiers for Independence Day. A suitcase full of money, roughly speaking. I later stuffed this money into a bulletproof vest instead of plates and we got out with a backpack. Then I gave the money to the soldiers,” he said.
Dobrenkyi continues serving on the front line in the Luhansk region. For his courage and bravery, he received the Order of Danylo Halytskyi.
Another soldier, Maksym, also volunteered for the army in 2014. He participated in some of the fiercest battles of 2014 and 2015.
“The toughest battles were in Avdiivka. In 2015. It was winter, January. There was everything except aviation. Many of my friends died back then. A tank did a lot of damage,” he said.
Now, he serves not far from Ukraine’s border with Russia. He said that he’s doing it for his 9-year-old son.
“I missed his first grade. When he was in 2nd grade, I accompanied him on the first day of school. I’ll have to catch up with all this after the war. I want my son to live in an independent country when he grows up,” he said.
These soldiers have no time to celebrate Day of the Volunteer. They have to constantly be on alert to defend their country.