Wednesday, March 11, 2015

UCU Helps Ukraine: Yevhen Tsabij

"I have no place sitting here at home, when there is strife in my country and others my age are defending our homeland from enemies."

These are the words that Yevhen Tsabiy told his mother when he decided to leave Mykolayiv to join Ukraine's forces. 

Since September, Yevhen has participated in various battles, in the Volnovakha region, around the village of Staroihnatiyivka. On September 22nd, came Yevhen's most challenging day yet - almost 100 of soldiers in his division deserted and left him and a few others to their own devices. Yevhen and his friends decided they would go on one last mission to extract a few of their friends who were not too far away constructing dugouts and shelters. Sitting in the front of a BTR (infrantry battle vehicle), the boys set off, and ended up in the crosshairs of enemy machine gun fire. Yevhen got shot in the hand but managed to leap out of the BTR, however soon after suffered a serious injury when he was shot in the rucksack full of ammunition, causing a variety of complex injuries to his spine. He could not stand or move or yell out for help. Yevhen heard his comrades looking for him but could not answer and he was left in the field alive but unable to help himself. He was almost crushed by one of the BTR as his battalion was retreating. Instead, he was found by the DNR ( so called “Donetsk People’s Republic”) fighters. They told him that since he was mobilized to the army and was not a volunteer fighter, they would spare his life.

His mother, Yuliya,  was contacted about her son’s imprisonment. She quickly took off trying to rescue Yevhen.In a few weeks, he was released to her care under the prisoner exchange program. She drove him to Dnipropetrovsk where he recovered for 3 weeks, followed by 3 months of rehab in Odessa, and now finds himself in the Lviv Military Hospital.

Yevhen has a major spinal injury – a bullet destroyed 4 vertebra causing a rupture of the spinal cord ( 7 cm of which is missing). Another bullet has stuck under the left shoulder blade after piercing his lung. Where his injuries were very serious to begin with, the window for corrective and partially restorative surgery has long passed and Yevhen will remain quadraplegic for the rest of his life. 

As always, we thank you for your time and care and pass on messages of thanks and gratitude from the soldiers and friends at Lviv Military Hospital. 

To contribute toward Yevhen's treatments and therapies, please visit your branch or contact the call centre at 1.800.461.0777 to make a donation.

Lots of photos of the injured soldiers we are helping can be found on our Facebook page in the album UCU Helps Ukraine.

Read the stories of some of our other heroes:

Questions and inquiries about this initative can be directed to the UCU Helps Ukraine committee, Kateryna Litvinjuk (, Michael Zienchuk (, and Roman Mlynko (

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