Today is the one-year anniversary of Russia’s brutal, unprovoked, full-scale invasion of Ukraine. To mark the occasion, Kyiv Post has collected 17 stories to try and convey the breadth and scale of the loss caused to Ukrainians caused by the Kremlin’s aggression.
I try not to make friends in war. War is a path of sorrow, and this is true for any participant, even when he is the victor. Even when you win the war, the real war will still take so much from you that your joy will be with tears of sorrow in your eyes.
I try not to make friends in war. I have two of its stages behind me, and I see the statistics.
Most of the soldiers of the small unit with which I went to Donbas in April 2014, when armed clashes were just beginning there, have already died. Roughly speaking, a third of the losses are from 2014-2015, two-thirds from this stage, since February 2022.
I know how heavy the coffins are, where the bodies of brothers lie. How similar and at the same time unlike themselves they are after death.
The bodies of some of them are still lying somewhere under Bakhmut. For sure the Russians have not buried them.
I don’t want friends in war anymore, I don’t want to go to their funerals. Perhaps this is the hardening of the heart in war.
I already have enough friends in the war, and the theory of probabilities says that I still have to attend more than one sad ritual. I don’t want to turn the war into a regular funeral visit, and my Facebook page into a collection of famous obituaries.
Unfortunately, my Facebook page already is – despite the filters that I put on such content.
I don’t want friends in war because I will always reproach myself for not having done something to prevent my friend from dying. Even when I was far away, it was my fault that I wasn’t there, that I didn’t die in his place, or didn’t save him, or otherwise didn’t help us avoid death.
This is another reason why I don’t like funerals. Because it’s always hard for me to look into the eyes of widows and orphans, mothers and fathers. I can never feel guiltless.
The problem is that the best ones die. And this is not at all a beautiful phrase to somehow honor the fallen. This is a completely rational assessment.
Who dies more often?
Volunteers who have more conscience and courage die most often. A large part of those who voluntarily went for fight from the very beginning of the hot phase in 2022 are now already in the other world or unable to fight due to injuries.
The second category, in terms of losses, is those who had the courage and conscience not to refuse the draft, not to avoid it.
And finally, the smallest losses are among those who tend to run away, hide, come up with cunning schemes to avoid being drafted to the front, who give bribes so as not to go to war.
The last category will survive, and will still have enough strength and health to win the competition for money and power from us who return from the war.
Those who were brave and kind, who valued the common good more than their own life and health, will mostly perish. And their moral antipodes will take their place.
Roman Ratushny, who protected Kyiv parks from illegal constructors, is now in the grave. And his opponents go abroad to rest and use their parliamentary mandates to enrich themselves.
Oleh Sobchenko, who protected the Ros River and sought the punishment of those guilty of the Maidan events, is now in his grave, while his opponents are enjoying their wealth.
Of course, we will return victorious, our military glory will definitely help us fight for good causes and to continue the activities of our fallen friends.
But I know for sure that war is a completely negative choice. And as such, the most revolting thing in the world.
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