The Day continues to publish stories about Ukrainian servicemen who gave their lives, defending the integrity of Ukraine from Russian saboteurs. Read earlier stories on The Day’s website (day.kiev.ua) in the column “They died for us.”
“I will go anyway. It’s my duty”
Three servicemen from Rivne oblast were killed on May 22 near Volnovakha: Andrii Nechyporuk, Vitalii Marynych, and Leonid Ozeranchuk
Red carnations, tears of women, honorable guard, and shouts “Glory to heroes!” This was how the bodies of 17 soldiers, killed on May 22 near Volnovakha in Donetsk region, were met in Rivne oblast. At first the heavy zinc coffins were brought to the airport, later the farewell ceremony was held on military training area. Three Rivne oblast residents were killed: 34-year-old driver-nurse Andrii Nechyporuk and two reconnaissance men from the neighboring villages of Rokytne raion – 22-year-old Vitalii Marynych and 23-year-old Leonid Ozeranchuk. The relatives did not want to believe till the last minute that their sons, brothers, husbands, and parents were lying in the coffins.
It seemed that life stopped when people bid farewell to the men from Polissia. Even the school classes stopped. Pupils and teachers were standing along the school fence. People created a live corridor. Somewhere high in the sky the church bells rang sorrowfully. On that day people in Polissia could feel the war.
“They were good guys. Vitalii and Leonid were expected home in one week or two. They both were going to get married. They planned to apply for a marriage certificate upon their return. One of them even ordered the music to his wedding,” Rokytne village chairman Petro Honchar says.
The 22-year-old Vitalii Marynych had a big family: his parents had three sons, a daughter-in-law, and a grandson. He graduated from a vocational school where he was trained as a mason-plasterer, served in the army, and returned home. He worked in the fire brigade. The man was called up on April 10. According to his fellow villagers, his mother found out that Vitalii was called up almost at the last moment: the son did not want to tell her not to worry her.
Leonid Ozeranchuk left two sisters, parents, and fiancee. He graduated from a vocational school as well, he was an automobile mechanic by profession. He served in the army, worked in the forestry. The villagers say he was a calm guy.
“Fifty men on the whole were drafted in Rokytne. Part of them is in the military registration and enlistment office, the rest were at the training area. On the whole we have 400 persons subject to the draft,” the village chairman says.
The 34-year-old Andrii Nechyporuk lived in the village Bronnyky, Rivne oblast. Together with his wife he was raising his daughters and building a house. He was not called up – he was a volunteer. Andrii went to the military registration and enlistment office several times, but he was talked off it. He was raising four children. When he came for the third time, they took him, because they needed a driver. His friends and family recall that he was a friendly person, who was always ready to help. They say that Andrii hurried to live. He was shot in the heart. The man left four children, parents, and wife. His wife talked to him on that evening. Andrii called her about 12:00 p.m., then he said that some cars arrived, which seem to be armored, that is why he could not talk. He promised to call her later. But he never took up the phone again. His fellow soldiers told about the tragedy. Andrii Nechyporuk was buried in his native Radyvyliv raion. People in Ridkiv, where he was born, have never seen such funeral. People from every house came out to bid farewell to Andrii Nechyporuk. Local residents say this is their common grief. Those who knew him are not surprised that he volunteered to join the army. “He was always a patriot, a true Ukrainian,” Andrii Nechyporuk’s former teacher Lidia Redko says, “I remember that he was a child with an open heart. In school Andrii went in for sport and defended girls from senior pupils. When he decided to volunteer to join the army, his mother asked him to stay. And he said, ‘I will go anyway. This is my duty.’”
By Tetiana ILNYTSKA, Rivne
“That was a usual flight on a non-military helicopter”
Vinnytsia bid farewell to Valentyn Biloshkursky, a reliable friend, brave warrior, loving husband, and caring father
On May 31 the residents of the oblast center bid farewell to the courageous serviceman, reliable friend, kind son, loving husband, and caring father – Valentyn Biloshkursky. He was killed on May 29 near Sloviansk, Donetsk oblast, as a result of a crush of Mi-8 helicopter, which was shot down by terrorists.
The deceased was born and grew up in Vinnytsia. He started to serve in the internal forces of Ukraine in June 1998 in the military unit 3030 of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In 2002 he served in the military unit 3028. The commander of the special forces company Hennadii Kutsy says that Valentyn was a reliable comrade, a brave and courageous soldier.
“Nothing foreboded the tragedy on that day. It was an ordinary flight on an ordinary, I emphasize, a non-military helicopter. My guys, Valentyn Biloshkursky and Viktor Lypsky, were attached to support the servicemen who unloaded the provision and held rotation. They both were inspectors, senior machine gunners of the military unit 3028 of Western Operative Territorial Union of the National Guard of Ukraine,” Kutsy says. “On return, about 12:30 a.m., the helicopter was shot from a man-portable air defense system by terrorists. The terrorists were shooting from a forest strip. The Mi-8 fell and all 12 servicemen were killed. When our soldiers from the checkpoint rushed to the fallen helicopter, near Valentyn’s body they found his phone and called the commander’s number they found there – the news was terrible.”
“I feel very sorry for the guys, they died a death of the brave,” special forces officer on retire Ihor Zubrytsky joins our conversation. “I have served with Valentyn for almost 10 years. He never doubted orders, he always fulfilled them with honor and heroism. He was a good machine-gunner, who many times fulfilled his duty in hot spots. What is the most important thing, at any circumstances he always remained a person, a real man, who was ready to defend his Fatherland, family, and parents.”
Vinnytsia bid farewell to Valentyn in a special way, like he deserved. Several hundreds of people, including his relatives, friends, colleagues, as well as leaders of Vinnytsia and oblast – everyone who cared about the loss of the patriot, who fought for Ukraine’s sovereignty and gave his life for his Fatherland, came to the house where the family of the killed serviceman lives.
“Valentyn was only 35,” neighbor Nina Nikytiuk says sadly. “He talked to his wife several hours before his death. He apologized that he could not come to the anniversary of their wedding on June 1. He asked about their 12-year-old daughter and inquired about the health of his parents. He was a friendly person, always smiling and joking with us, the old women who were sitting on the bench near the entrance. His death is a tragedy for the family and for all of us.”
Valentyn was buried in the Central City Cemetery, not far from the Heavenly Sotnia Hero Maksym Shymko, who was killed on February 20 on Kyiv Maidan by a sniper. And on May 30 the deputies of the city council voted for allotment of 100,000 hryvnias of compensation to the family of the killed Vinnytsia resident. Eternal memory to the hero.
By Olesia SHUTKEVYCH