Volodymyr Honcharovskiy, a hero of Instytutska

During my stay in Germany last weekend for the conference dedicated to Ukraine and Euromaidan, I had an opportunity to visit one of the heroes of Instytutska at a military hospital.

The name of this courageous man is Volodymyr Honcharovskiy.

He was wounded on February 19th on Instytutska—he took two bullets to his spine and was paralyzed. The German doctors gave him no chance of recovery. However, after another medical examination, they noticed that Volodymyr had feeling in his right hand, and operated on him immediately. Since then, Volodymyr has been recovering by leaps and bounds. Not only is he able to take a couple of steps by himself, but he is also exercising on training equipment, especially on a stationary bike. The doctors are saying that his speedy recovery is some kind of miracle.

He has set a goal for himself: to be walking with a walker after one month, and never again to sit in a wheelchair, as three small children and a pregnant wife are waiting for him at home. As he himself says, he doesn’t want to be a burden on his big family. Perhaps this is why his desire to recover as soon as possible is so strong.

On the 19th of February, Volodymyr celebrated his birthday, and on the 20th, he had been wounded. He asked me, “The fact that I survived, was it my second birthday or a present for my actual birthday?” I did not know how to reply. But there is one thing I know for sure: I wish this man an even faster recovery and all the best for his new life and for his family.

He asked me to be sure to write about the tremendous work done by the German doctors and volunteers to whom he owes his life, and thank them.

But I would like to thank this man, lanky from his long stay in the hospital but internally so strong and modest, for having nearly given up his life for us.

In the second picture, Volodymyr is being dragged from Instytutska. In the third, he is lying down in the left of the picture, wearing a Berkut helmet. The man wearing track pants standing to his left will be killed in a few minutes by a shot to his chest.

Source: an account by EMPR staffer Olha Poberezhna

Translated by Dasha Darchuk, edited by Robin Rohrback

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