Military medics of Ukraine

ACT of blatant HORROR - Medics from the Ilyich plant have been held captive for a whole year!

On April 12, 2023 - a terrible anniversary of captivity - of all the medics who provided assistance to wounded and needy military and civilian people who tried to hide from shelling in one of the last remaining shelters of Mariupol - on the territory of the plant named Ilyicha. They are NON-COMBATANTS – these people have never held a weapon in their hands! They saved people's lives day and night, without sleep or rest... In the basements of factory premises, filled to the brim with the wounded, where the stinking smell of rotting limbs, human excrement and streams of blood mingled and became daily... where rats were people's usual neighbors, where the wounded civil servants shared the last piece of bread with women, old people and children. In the basements, which at any second could turn into mass graves for their inhabitants. In the basements where many people remained forever, smashed under the rubble in a result of regular airstrikes. Right in this critical situation, the main weapon in the hands of the medics at the Ilyich plant was their deep devotion to their profession and the desperate round-the-clock struggle for the life of each wounded person. As a result, thousands of human lives were saved. We appeal to the world community - not to remain indifferent! FREEDOM TO THE CAPTIVE MEDICS OF MARIUPOL! Even during the wartime, medics must be guaranteed protection, safety and the opportunity to carry out their activities without obstacles. Freedom to these people who, by risking their own lives, gave the opportunity to live for the others.

Interview of a military medic from the Illich plant

Letter of a military doctor from a Russian concentration camp

This letter was written by a military doctor who was captured by the Russian military at the Illich plant. He wrote it when he had been in captivity for some time. The letter were delivered from the Russian concentration camp - but thousands of captured still remain there.

History of a military doctor

Testimony of those who returned from captivity

Olena Kryvtsova
Resident of the hospital department

On the eve of the large-scale invasion, Olena went to Volnovakha for a rotation. For many years in a row, a reinforcement group worked there in the central district hospital: a therapist, a surgeon, an anesthesiologist, and a nurse. They had one small room with minimal technical support, where they received the military. During her service in Mariupol, this was her seventh rotation to Volnovakha.

I didn’t sleep well during the night from February 23 to 24. Olena read the news until she came across the address of the President of the Russian Federation. Around 4 am, I heard an explosion, and within two hours, the first wounded arrived. The Russians fired at the checkpoints.

– We were not mentally prepared for these terrible pictures. It’s one thing when one or two people are brought in with a bullet or shrapnel wound, and it’s another thing when car after car drives up to the hospital and you realize that it’s not the end of it all. And these pools of blood… These are some kind of movie scenes. How can there be calf-deep blood in the room? And then you see them with your own eyes.

We had no idea how critical everything was, it was increasing the tension. But you couldn’t afford to get lost in this misunderstanding. I remember that we started to take off the military socks from the boys. Because we did not know how close the enemy was. And if the Russians suddenly come in now and see the wounded, then they better think that they are just civilians. The whole day of February 24 was spent on my feet. The next night they also delivered the wounded boys. Doctors from the Volnovaha hospital helped us all the time, there was no separation: these are your patients, these are all ours.

And then we were given command to return to the hospital in Mariupol. There basement there was cleared some time before hostilities. That’s all the protection. At first, only military personnel were brought to us, then, when the Russians came closer, a lot of civilians appeared. There were many injuries and therapeutic patients as well. The war doesn’t stop the blood sugar levels that require insulin injections. And when the medicines disappeared from the pharmacies, we gave people what we had from our stocks.

I will not say that I felt fear then. There was something else. It’s like you’re having a terrible dream. You feel restlessness, anxiety, you want to wake up, but you can’t. Communication with colleagues rescued. When it started rumbling outside the window, and it was already March, we joked among ourselves: “Oh, spring thunderstorms.” Black humor turns on, you try to relieve yourself and those around you. And then, at your own risk and fear, you climb to the 4th or 5th floor, look out the window and see how the city is burning, how the district where you rented an apartment is burning. But it doesn’t matter what’s left there.


And then the next thought: it’s not just fire and smoke, there are people. And it didn’t fit in his head.

— At the beginning, the hospital received about three dozen wounded people a day. Later, this figure already reached more than a hundred. A lot of faces come to mind. But the most interesting thing is that they are all remembered not bent over from pain, but with smiles. You try to help the guy, even just ask about his condition, and he will definitely smile, take his hand and say: “Let’s get through.” And you understand where you leave them, you are in your place.

Our surgeons, nurses, junior nurses did not sit around the clock. The surgeons had the size of bags under the eyes till the chin. You hug them, you say: “We will manage.” But you understand how difficult it is for them. This is not work on a conveyor belt with equipment, they have human lives in their hands. It was scary for their health, physical and moral. For them to endure, because resources are not infinite, no matter how strong a person is. Especially if there is no food, sleep and reinforcement. You come up, push him, ask if he has eaten. He stands in gloves up to his elbows in blood, and you understand that the question is stupid. And on the walkie-talkie they say that they are taking the wounded again.

Some doctors from civilian hospitals came to the hospital to help. We also had civilians. People thought that war was war, and medical institutions and churches were security.

Our windows and doors were blown out by the blast waves. We slept for a long time dressed under four blankets, trying to keep warm. But it still felt like you were sleeping outside. Generators are not eternal, there is no hot water to drink at least for a tea. Only rain and snow do not fall on the head, because the roof is still holding.

In mid-March, wounded people began to arrive from the residential area across the street. This meant that the shells were flying very close. And on March 16, one such the projectile flew to the hospital yard, aiming at the monument to the fallen military medics. Then they crashed the nearby “Neptune” pool, a huge glass structure that had been under construction for many years, and it was to be opened. It was a matter of time when he would fly specifically to the hospital.And on the same day, an aerial bomb hit the intensive care unit. Surprisingly, almost no one from the staff was injured. Even the seconded paramedic-instructor-disinfector, who was at the very epicenter of the infection. Now he is in captivity. Then Olena was able to call her mother for the last time. And further communication was very rare – only text messages with the words “alive”.

After that, the hospital began to be moved in small groups along with equipment and medicines to the Ilyich plant and Azovstal. Olena ended up at the Illich factory. “Just get into the car, and wherever it took you, there you are. And you start all over again,” she says.

On April 12, 2022, Olena was captured by the Russians. And spent more than six months there. On October 17, 2022, she returned home as part of the prisoner exchange.

Olena Biyovska
Операційна сестра

On February 22, we were gatheredby alarm. And we have already started living in the hospital, without going home. We had barracks regime. But no information was given that there would be an invasion. It all started on February 24, and it was very intense. We had to be ready to receive wounded patients. Therefore, from February 24, an intensive reception of wounded soldiers, civilians, adults, and children began. And we started to provide help to everyone. How did we start working? Very cohesive. This adrenaline… We had one operating room and two operating rooms: a smaller one (with one table) and a larger one (with two tables). In general, we have a two-stored building, so they began to open operating rooms on the first floor. So we had 4 operating theaters and another intensive care ward, where we took difficult patients already after surgery. And the rest of the patients are sent to the surgical department for nursing care. It was just a colossal amount of work. There were a lot of wounded. We didn’t count for sure, but it was more than 40 wounded in a day. And mostly these were severe wounds – mine-explosive injuries, limb amputations, wounds to the stomach, chest, and head. It was something terrible. When there was a second and the girls and I could talk somewhere, we had the impression that they just wanted to drown us in blood. There were so many wounded and the amount of work was so terrible that it is simply impossible to describe in words. But everyone worked very, very unitedly. Each of us knew his scope of work and everything was done very quickly. The hospital has not very wide corridors, not very large rooms, but there was a huge number of people there. And everything had to be done quickly – bring it in, take it out, put it down, place it, pick it up. The team is just great. There were more than 100 people from the hospital. From the surgical staff with the anesthesiology service, with nurses and doctors – somewhere up to 40 people. Civilian doctors also joined us. They came from different hospitals and helped us. They helped a lot. These are nurses, surgeons, and anesthesiologists. However, there were not enough hands because there were many operating tables. We needed more doctors and nurses than we had. I don’t remember the exact date when it happened, it was sometime after March 10. A bomb hit the hospital building. The intensive care unit was completely destroyed. When I walked down the corridor and, for example, opened the door where we had a dormitory, there was just a street behind the door. That is, there were no offices at all on one side. It was awful. And then a decision was made to evacuate the personnel and the wounded to the Azovstal and Illich factories. In particular, an aerial bomb was dropped in front of the main entrance to the surgical building. And we got the impression that they really knew where the hospital was. And people simply have nothing sacred. That’s all. The bodies of the fallen soldiers came and were taken away by the representatives of the units. And the civilians were taken away by their relatives. Why was it decided to split up and go to two factories? This decision was made after the bomb destructed the hospital.

In order not to risk either the personnel or the injured. So that no one dies. How did this distribution happen? It happened by itself. They just decided among themselves, I’m going there, and I’m going there. That is, it was done without thinking, it had to be done as soon as possible. We shipped the equipment that will be used to work, collected medicines, materials, and tools.

In the operating room where I worked, the windows were covered with sandbags. But during one of the operations, a bomb fell and they flew away, all the tools and materials were in the glass. Everything was thrown up by the blast wave.

In such conditions, we gathered and left for the plant.

On April 12, 2022, Olena was captured by the Russians. And spent more than six months there. On October 17, 2022, she returned home as part of the prisoner exchange.

Nina Kolosinska
Military medic

We provided medical care around the clock, there was almost no time for rest. The hospital was one of the few medical institutions that functioned. We accepted everyone – military, civilians, children, women, elderly people. Although before the start of the full-scale war, we constantly worked with the wounded, but no one expected such a number of patients. In connection with a significant increase in surgical activity and dangerous working conditions, it was necessary to reorganize the work of the hospital. The number of beds was maximally expanded, and the number of operating tables was increased. About 85% of the hospital staff were involved in working with the wounded, regardless of the specifics of their work, before the start of the full-scale war. We made all possible and impossible to rescue as many people as possible.

Nina was captured by the Russians while leaving the Azovstal plant. She was returned home during the exchange on October 17, 2022.

Denys Gaiduk
Military doctor-surgeon

Sorry, translation in progress… But you can always use Google Translate.

Що відбувалося в Маріупольському військовому шпиталі?  хто там знаходився?

Весь наш медичний персонал який знаходився по штатке, на свому постійному місті дислокування. Операційні вже було розгорнуто, спущено вниз. Це було організовано так як там мало бути, як могло бути в тих умовах що були.

Ти хочеш сказати що ніхто з лікарів, медсестр не втік і не злякався обстрілів?

 Це вже потім відбулося, це вже після того як попадання було в Нептун – це новесенький басейн тоже все по великому будівництво було зроблено, все классно, все для людей було зроблено! Тобто все красиве розбомбили відразу майже? І друга бомба одразу попала в наш госпиталь біля Нептуна, одразу раз – басейн, два- наш госпіталь.

Як ти опинився в кардіо центрі?  Тебе переведено було туди з військового госпіталя?

-Командир визначив мене щоб я розгортав хірургічне відділення в кардіо центрі, так зване БСМП в місті Маріуполі.

Чому ви не могли бути усі в військовому шпиталі чому в БСМП ти поїхав?

-Була дуже велика кількість поранених і не тільки військових але і цивільного населення.

Приїхали ми в кардіоцентр, я, терапевт і медбрат – 3 людини, 3 військових.

Анестезіолога, я вже розумію, не було? – ні там не було.

Анестезіологи були потрібні в військовому шпиталі. Була розрахована на те, що я зкомунікую з цивільним населенням і цивільне населення буде мені допомагати.

Я розумію, що я змогу знайти спільну мову з багатьма людьми але з ким там було говорити? там всі повтікали нікого не лишилося, одиниці. І працював по факту 1 лікар-анестезіолог – інтерн. Інтерн! Який був і на відмінно справився зі своєю задачею, Від військових до дітей чи то пенсіонери були, чи то були вагітні, Немає різниці він робив все від загального наркозу і все. Я йому казав, ти зможешь!

Денис, Гайдук, а тобі хто казав не бійся, роби, оперуй? Ти ж напевно стикався з випадками з якими ти не стикався ніколи?

Цю дань можу віддати тільки провідному хірург ЗСУ – Констянтину Гуманюку – полковнику медичної служби, це людина яка дійсно на своєму місті,  він чудова людина, найкращий мотиватор, організатор. Він вміє підготувати  спеціалістів, організувати людей. Ми с нім спілкувались.

Йому дзвонив, запитую що робити? Ти виснажений, Ти вже вигорів, тобі тільки одної Волновахи за 3 дні хватило, такой поток пацієнтів був, це жах. Смерть переслідує тебе кругом, там 200, там 300, там знов 200. Вигружають машину – знизу 200 випадають зверху 300х витягують. Спочатку були Богданчики а потім вже пожежними машинами привозили. Ви тільки вдумайтесь в  кількість?

– я не можу її осягнути..

–  і я  тоже.

– Я не хочу зараз порівнювати з Бучею та Ірпінь але якщо було місто смерті то воно було в Маріуполі.

Як ви працювали і оперували коли продовжувалися обстріли? Чи в підвалі не дуже чутно Поясни мені ці моменти? Ти в Мариуполе в кардиоцентре у тебе Безкінечний потік людей, чи ти наскільки зосереджений на операції Що для тебе нічого не існує?  як це?  але ж ти мега втомлений? Тобто як твоя увага і твої руки продовжують працювати, різати?

– Спочатку тобі начебто страшно ну страх повинен бути, Це інстинкт самозбереження, Ну не повинно бути паніки, головне це не панікувати, мати змогу собою володіти.

Після кардіоцентру, як з’явився наказ і ідея всім рушити в Азовсталь? Ти розумів як будете ви пересуватися – ви військові, ви хірурги, військові яких ти рятував – що все стечеться врешті-решт туди? як це відбувалося?

дивиться, зв’язку не було, зв’язок по раціям також подавляли, наш терапевт був відправлений туди, ми його в основном відправляли щоб він коммунікував з нашим керівництвом госпіталю. Мається на увазі що до того вже було сказано що вот буде момент коли потрібно буде звідти нам все-таки виїхати. Місто в осаді, через два квартали друга обласна лікарня, вона вже повністю розтрілюється. Прийшов наказ, Влад приїхав і сказав що завтра мі будемо скоріш за все збиратися, потім якимось чином ми вийшли все ж таки по рації на зв’язок – нам сказали – Зараз будут автобуси вони вже біля вас. Швиденько всіх військових які були по поверхах зібрали,  начали евакуйовувати в автобуси, грузили.

Також я вже розумів, а куди ми далі поїдимо? Ну я взяв пару матрасів, хлопців треба було десь розмістити.

Потім Денис потрапить до заводу Азовсталь, і звідти буде захоплений у полон росіянами. Під час обміну 29 жовтня він повернеться додому.

Denys Boldetskiy
Nurse of the trauma department

Boldetskyi Denys Anatoliiovych was born on January 29, 1989. Upon graduating from high school, he entered Kotov Medical School, majoring in “Nursing”. After earning his degree, Denys joined the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on contract and started working in Odesa Military Medical Clinical Center in Southern region as a Surgical Ward Nurse. He dedicated 14 years helping people through his work. In spring 2021, he made the decision to transfer to Mariupol Military Hospital №555 as a Trauma Nurse. On February 24, 2022, Denys was at work. After a while, he informed his family that he and his comrades were at Azovstal. On May 18, 2022, he was captured as a prisoner of war. There has been no notice from Denys since then. Awaiting him at home are his son Oleksands (one and a half y.o.), wife Liliia, parents, and friends.


Volodymyr Galkin
Military medic

Galkin Volodymyr Valentinovych, born on June 11, 1985. After the occupation of his native city of Donetsk, he moved to Mariupol and joined the ranks of deminers of the international company Nalo Trast. There he obtained the education of a paramedic.
After the start of the full-scale invasion, without any hesitation he joined the 109th Brigade of the Military Intelligence Service as a senior combat medic of the 107th battalion. During his stay in Mariupol, he was able to call his relatives only a few times. There were practically no opportunities for him to communicate regularly. Volodymyr last spoke to his family on March 13, 2022. Then he and his relatives promised each other to be strong and definitely wait for the meeting. They believed that it would happen very soon.
On March 29, his colleague wrote that Volodymyr was alive and ok. And then several weeks of absolute silence. And only on April 17, his relatives learned that he was captured.
For this, almost a year, only 2 letters were received from him, which were handed over by representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross back in August 2022. They said that he was in the territory of the Russian Federation. His relatives did not receive any more news or calls, and no actual information about his health.
Unfortunately, not everyone could wait for Volodymyr at home. His father died on April 8, and he most likely does not even know about it. He and his father were extremely close.

Captured military medics