Vitalii Baban turned 20 on March 9. He served in the 25th Detached Dnipropetrovsk Airborne Brigade. At the one of the last photos, captured in the village of Hvardiiske, Baban is smiling cheerfully. On his social network page one can see that he was online on June 13 at 11:38 p.m. for the last time. Ninety minutes later the plane carrying him was shot down by militants’ anti-aircraft complex during a landing in Luhansk.
The tragic news was a horrible blow for the whole village of Oleksiivka in Dobrovelychkivka raion, Kirovohrad oblast. “We received a call at the village council,” says land surveyor Iryna Zvizdoliak quietly, with sorrow in her voice. “He was a good boy. Active, kind, sincere. His body has not been brought home yet. But the mother is waiting...”
Now fellow villagers are raising money for the Baban family, the village council has also allotted financial aid from its budget. Alas, this will not bring the soldier back...
“If not me, then who?”
The heart of another Kirovohrad resident, 29-year-old Yurii Vlasenko, stopped beating near the town of Krasny Lyman on June 3
The wound turned out to be lethal for the man. Private Yurii Vlasenko, telephone operator from the platoon at the command of the first mortar battery, the first airborne battalion, died on June 3 when covering his comrades during militants’ attack on the motorcade of the Mykolaiv Detached Airborne Brigade. Vlasenko was a volunteer, he enrolled as soon as mobilization started. According to his father, who managed to hold his tears back and say a few words during the funeral ceremony, when he and his wife begged their son to leave the service, he answered with a question: “If not me, who will protect our land?” The last tribute was paid to Vlasenko on June 7 in Kirovohrad on Teatralna Square, which has already become a place of mourning and grief for the city residents.
“A hero of Ukraine was serving in this brigade. I remember when I accepted the young boy named Yura for the draft service. And after finishing it, when militants were doing everything possible to break our country apart, he was one of the first along with his fellow paratroopers who joined the ranks to defend Ukraine. He always used to say: ‘Who but us must protect our country?’ Yura was one of the first to occupy a position when the criminals attacked the motorcade and did his best to save the lives of his comrades. Yura, we remember you and we will remember you for the rest of our lives!” said Ivan Savka, deputy commander for personnel affairs of the 79th Detached Airborne Brigade.
Vlasenko was posthumously presented for a state award. A street in Kirovohrad will be named after him.
He learned he was going to have a baby daughter a few hours before his death.
Yevhen Burko, 23, killed on June 12, left a pregnant wife and a little daughter.
While firmly believing in peace in Ukraine, he died on June 12 during the anti-terrorist operation in the east near the border with Russia. On June 16 he was buried in his native village of Vilne, Kirovohrad raion. He talked to his wife a few hours before his death, and that is when he learned she was pregnant with a girl.
“A child with a heart of gold. A brilliant student. He served in 2009, and then he remained with the army as a contract soldier. He was buried on June 16. The coffin was carried through the whole village. A funeral service and a meeting were held. We are also going to commemorate the hero with a plaque on the school wall. We inquired about the price yesterday, and asked the wife to give his photo, because it was not appropriate during the funeral. It turns out that such a board costs a thousand hryvnias,” says Olha Sindiashkina, head of the village of Vilne.
Now the whole village is raising the money to help the family. “A donation box labeled ‘For Zhenia’s funeral’ was placed in the local store, and the whole village is bringing money there,” village dwellers say.
According to Oleksandr Doharov, head of the Welfare Department at the Kirovohrad Oblast State Administration, state financial aid for the families of the killed soldiers was not paid yet, since relevant orders have not yet arrived at the Department. It is likely that the welfare issue will be resolved after the completion of the anti-terrorist operation.