Wednesday, May 13, 2015

UCU Helps Ukraine: Olexander Kosolapov

Olexander comes from Shchastia (the Ukrainian for happiness), a town in the Luhansk region. His Ukrainian is so good, one wouldn’t believe that Olexander is an Easterner! The story of how he came to participate in the Anti-Terrorist Operation is interesting.

 «The separatists drove us from Shchastia, because in all meetings in March 2014 I called to our pro-Russian activists to not get us into war. I fought in Afghanistan, lost a lung there (shows a scar on his chest) so I begged them to stop. You do not know what war is, and I know - I would tell them, but they did not listen me, called me a fascist and Banderite and finally kicked us out of the city. Then we met with the commander, who came to create the volunteer battalion «Aydar», and we together with my son became its members. I am proud that my son turned out such a patriot, though he lived in the Luhansk region and was a Russian-speaker. He said: «This is my country and I will defend it.” My son was 26 and turned 27 in «Aydar», he is still with them, fighting, stationed in Shchastia. He said, «I was born here and will not go away, if necessary, I will die here.» I am very worried about him, it was easier when he was lying in the trench beside me and I knew that if anything, I can cover him with myself.»

How did you get injured?

«Lviv 80 Airborne Brigade was under siege at the airport, terrorists fired at them with «Grad» missiles and it was impossible to evacuate the wounded for four days. We attacked the airport from the city to pick up the wounded. However, the separatists fought us off. As a local, I knew another path to the airport - through the village Heorhiyivka, there were separatists and we would have to bypass it. There was a meeting of the commanders and Sergei Melnychuk («Aydar» commander) called me, because I knew the area. The general said, no reconnaissance, go ahead! They called for volunteers to kick the separatists out of Heorhiyivka and hold the village. 54 «Aydar» fighters volunteered. The 30th Brigade gave us tanks and armoured vehicles. We were driving all night. You would need to see how we were greeted there! The village had a narrow street, and after that a railway station and a field. An old lady came to greet us with a bottle of water and a large family, father and children, with a Ukrainian flag... They wept with joy that they could see their own people. Later there were fierce battles... We kicked the separatists out of the village and kept it. They continued to advance but we managed to transport the wounded from Luhansk Airport.

That’s where I caught my mine, which exploded literally on my leg. I thought I would lose the leg, because it was holding only by a piece of skin. The boys dragged me to the car and all of us wounded, 30 soldiers, in the back of a KAMAZ truck, drove for eight hours under fire on terrible roads. The helicopter delivered me to Kharkiv, and I stayed there only one day, later was Lviv, a resuscitation ward...»

Victor Lovha, a doctor at the military hospital, and an 8th Hospital hospital doctor, Volodymyr Savchyn, assembled the leg by particles and sewed on all its vessels. The operations under a spinal anesthesia took five days. They took the skin from Olexander’s hands and put it on the wounds. Then there were complications, pain lasting for three months, then they started rescuing the bone, which is now held in the Ilizarov apparatus. A metallic pin must now be inserted into the bone, it is very expensive –UAH 10,000. Olexander has a bone broken in his other leg too, he also had mine fragments in his belly. In total, he underwent nine operations.

To contribute toward Olexander'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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