Inhabitant of Odessa had an iron armor against the army, which gave him the right to evade war – his four children. But it was for the sake of their future that Mylola Poltorak, the father of four children, went to the contact zone.
“I first attempted to go to the contact zone when Russian troops occupied the Crimea. But since I had not served in the army, I could not be recruited. Only when enlistment to a territorial defence battalion began in Odesa, I went to the military commissariat once more, – Mykola recalls. – Back then I was recruited by the
18th battalion of territorial defence. Several weeks of intensive training and in September I was sent to the ATO zone”.
His comrades-in-arms were surprised to learn that Mykola had no prior experience of army service. “On many occasions he outclassed those who had “army experience”. Some boasted of having served in the Airborne Troops, but Mykola showed them all!”, – Poltorak’s comrade-in-arms Oleksandr Omelchuk says.
Around that time his wife had just given birth to a son, who became the fourth child in Poltorak’s family. It was for their sake that this inhabitant of Odesa went to war, to protect their future. Instead of sharing the joy of raising Bohdan [their fourth child], Mykola and Liliyia were separated by the war for almost a year.
Mykola became a sniper-reconnaissance man in the contact zone. On the third day, he had to come through baptism of fire. After one year of war on the frontline Mykola had plans to remain in the Armed Forces. Comrades in arms noted that Mykola is a true military man – he is a self-disciplined man even in extreme circumstances, his actions saved the unit on more than one occasion. But one June morning changed the man’s plans to stay on the frontline until victory.
“We were preparing for a major operation. We shelled a “forested area”, and then went to check all plantings for “secret posts” and mine fields. Not far away from separatists’ positions we found a shell crater, weapons, blood and one military boot… We must have shot somebody, so we dashed forward in pursuit. We reached the terrorists’ positions and then began to retreat, – Poltorak says. – At that moment, I stepped on a mine”.
The explosion took off his leg. Poltorak’s comrade-in-arms applied a tourniquet and evacuated him to a hospital. Then came the endless hospitals and hospital rooms.
Liliyia recalls the first phone conversations with her husband after he was wounded with smile: “He called and said to reassure the children that soon their father will have an iron leg, just like a robot. He consoled all of us, calmed us. He was full of optimism”.
Mykola does not regret his decision to go to war as a volunteer. He assures: as a father of four children, he had the right not to go to war. But it was for the sake of his children that he went to fight, to assert their right to live on their own land. “I have no regrets. I believe in the cause for which I lost my leg. It is a small price to pay. Other guys give much more – their lives. Their children – even more, they lose their fathers”, – the warrior says.