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Embracing a machine-gun on New Year’s Eve

December 22, 2016 / Central Publishing Organ of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine “Narodna armiya” newspaper
Embracing a machine-gun on New Year’s Eve

60-year-old Captain Oleksandr Ushynskyi from the 131st separate reconnaissance battalion of the Operational Command “South” is a very quaint character and remarkable individual even in our time.

– Just the day before there was a meeting of battalion officers at which everyone voted in favor of prolonging my service term beyond the age limit. I passed the military-medical commission’s tests and was given a clean bill of health for this mission. I feel as if I were 25 years old, it’s true! – the grey-haired captain says. – It comes down to the absence of unhealthy habits, and the love for life I have! It is interesting, maybe it is symbolically, but I was recruited into the ranks of the former Soviet army on 14th May in the distant 1975, and 40 years later – on 14th May 2015, came my first day of service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine!

Oleksandr Yevhenovych worked as chief agriculturer, was head of a collective farm, and headed the village council in his younger days. Then he came under the repressive policy of the communist party regime – for constructing a memorial sign to the victims of holodomor in Tarhan village, Volodarskyi district of Kyiv region. Two black “Volhas” came and drove him away in handcuffs. When Ushynskyi was released he became fully engaged in political activity. For over twenty years, he was deputy head of the Ukrainian Republican Party of Levko Lukianenko.

Oleksandr Yevhenovych is one of the renowned researchers of holodomor. He was the commander (sotnik) of the 40th hundred-men unit of Euromaidan. He set up online broadcasting from the global Ukrainian Diaspora. When the aggression in the East of country started, he went to the Desna military commissariat of Kyiv.

– At the military commissariat I was told that I’m too old for war but I didn’t fall into despair. Instead, I joined the assault company of the “Right sector” and held defence in Pisky on the positions of “Nebo” (“Sky”), Donetsk airport, Vodiane, Tonenke. I had to evacuate wounded servicemen in my own car, – Oleksandr Ushynskyi recalls his operational activities – On “Nebo” I manned the former billiard room on the fourth floor with a heavy machine-gun, presented by the soldiers of the 93rd brigade, even if for a short period. And I celebrated the eve of 2015 embracing a machine-gun – in a fierce battle. I fought near Shyrokyne…

Mr. Ushynskyi spoke about his miraculous escape. One day he was carrying a big pile of planks to the house where his guys were holding positions – to throw the wood into the potbelly stove. Suddenly, a mine blew up not far from the pathway. Ushynskyi was thrown back a few meters and hit his head against a wall. He blacked out. Having regained consciousness, the officer looked at the splintered planks around him and realized that if it had not been for them, he would have been killed.

Some time later a presidential decree was signed, by which Oleksandr Yevhenovych received an opportunity to join the army. He was HR deputy battalion commander, headed logistics in one of the units …

The Captain has no intention of demobilizing, although he could have been at home seven months ago.

– If truth be told, I am from the fifth wave of demobilization… It happened so that I missed the time of my dismissal, – Ushynskyi says with a cunning look in his eyes. – I don’t have a single regret. My “wave” is patriotism, which has not expiration date. I hope that I will remain to be subservient to Ukraine.

Hennadii KARPIUK