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.

Oleksandr Fedun, 24, is a mechanic-driver and a scout. He already had military experience before the start of the war - first military and then in contract service, where, he said, he was forged into a true warrior.

He had resigned from the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) a few months before the full-scale invasion; however, on the morning of Feb. 24 2022, he headed to the Military Commissariat without a shadow of a doubt of his goals. He was immediately appointed commander of the department. 


Oleksandr Fedun.

Oleksandr tirelessly defended his native Zaporizhzhia region; in May 2022, his self-propelled gun was ambushed and exploded during a combat mission. He lost both legs.

"We were heading to provide fire support for the guys but we were ambushed. We were blown up when we ran over an anti-tank mine... The explosion peeled off all the flesh from my bones, but I still had my legs. I broke them later when I was jumping out of a manhole," he recalls.

Nevertheless, Oleksandr even managed to apply the tourniquet to his wound. He was then taken to the nearest emergency room.

Now he is learning to walk again.

"During the first week, everything seemed so black. And then I pulled myself together and decided it didn't matter what kind of legs I had - the metal ones or the ordinary ones",  says Oleksandr in a conversation with Kyiv Post.

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He admits it was difficult to get used to the fact that he could no longer feel his knees.

"I had a double amputation — the upper and the lower part of the thigh. I am missing both knees."

But it is even harder not to give up, to challenge yourself, and to believe that you can do more.

"In those first moments, you are confused. You think no one needs you. But then, when you get a grip on yourself, you set the goal that you are the one who needs you. And upon making this choice, your perspective changes completely", reflects Oleksandr.


Oleksandr Fedun.

Due to the complex nature of his injury, Oleksandr needed a particular kind of prosthesis. The U.S. prosthetics center made his modern bionic limbs, and volunteers are helping him with rehabilitation in the U.S.

According to Oleksandr, he was able to get back on his feet rather quickly. And within one month, he was already walking with canes. A long and challenging rehabilitation still lies ahead.

"Having prostheses instead of legs, I am still able to do everything I could do before. Except for one thing, I am not able to squat... When you're on prostheses, it's already a workout. You have an exercise load every day", says the serviceman.

One can't help but admire Oleksandr's determination. He says that trauma and war changed him and taught him to appreciate the moments of life. He genuinely wants to return to Ukraine and protect his country as he did before. But first, he is planning to go home to see his brothers.

Oleksandr Fedun.


"I want to go back to war because it is not going to end any time soon. And one must protect one’s country. I'm used to it, and my country needs me now," says the former soldier.



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