“Right now I am in a petrol station to fill up: I am taking care of having my car repaired which was damaged by an explosion, and on Saturday I will leave for Lisiansk and Severodonetsk, the hottest areas right now. We go to the places where there are the most injured, to do everything to save them. “She has a rubber band with the colors of her country, yellow and blue, holding her hair and an Olha Krokha Bashei military cap, military paramedic under the Ukrainian army, while speaking to the beraking latest news in connection on Zoom from Kiev.
His specialty is tactical medicine: “By tactical medicine we mean military medicine – he explains – In war zones it is first aid to wounded soldiers. We have the combat zone, the red zone, where the soldier is wounded, and in this area the first bandage must be applied to stop the blood. Then there is the yellow area, where we take the injured person immediately afterwards and proceed with the next rescue. I teach just that. “There are a lot of women at the front, in different roles, she tells us. And she makes a distinction:” These two wars, that of 2014 and that of 2022, are very different. In this particular war there are a lot of womenand many who work as paramedics. “
The relationship with the military is very close and collaborative. “The men at the front treat us like sisters – he reveals to us – they help us, they protect us, at the front for men women are the most important thing, we are like a talisman for them “. And she tells us about her first day in the trenches:” They looked after me, brought me their mattresses and made sure I had everything, food, rest – she says smiling – I found myself having to explain that I knew well that we were in the middle of a war, I had my sleeping bag and I didn’t need them to worry, I would have done everything to be useful to the cause “.
Fear in war is a common travel companion, but Olha is not a tender: “To anyone who asks me if I’m afraid, I answer like this: if you go to the combat zone, you go there because you are not one who is afraid, if you have fear do not go there. Personally I don’t have fear. I want to be there at the front, because they don’t want my loved ones to see what I saw. “In her thirties, widowed (she lost her husband in 2005), Olha has no children but has many family affections to which she is very attached and who do not leave her for a second, at least virtually: “I have five grandchildren, 7 and 11 years old, and three older ones, one is in the army. I am in constant contact with them, with video calls, for them it is a great stress to know me at the front, it reassures them to hear me, we have never been so far away “.
She, who has been at the front since 2014, explains some strategic differences between the two wars: “From a strategic point of view, they are very different. If, for example, in 2014 it was a battle of tanks and artillery, now there are rockets and bombs. This is the greatest difficulty, which is why Mariupol was razed to the ground. Otherwise we would already be closer to our borders and we would have already taken back what they have stolen from us “. As with many of her colleagues at the front, the hypothesis of a defeat is not contemplatedand the incessant demand for weapons.
“It is not easy, but if we are given the weapons this war will end as soon as possible, by New Year. And it will end with the recovery of our territories, from the Crimea to the Donbass”. Yes, because this war will end, Olha has her sources certain. “My grandchildren told me on the phone that we will win. The words of the children speak the truth. I believe it.”
(by Ilaria Floris)