Stories that you confided to us

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Stories that you confided to us

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Vitalii Yemolovych
age: 51
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"Our students felt more horror than I did in Afghanistan"

Vitalii Yemolovych went through the war in Afghanistan. He says that there were no shells whistling over him, as in his native Avdiivka. February is a fateful month for him. In 1986, he was blown up by a mine, and in 2017, he miraculously survived in his apartment, where a shell landed

For some reason, I have a lot of good things connected with February – my son was born on February 20, and bad things – on February 20, I was blown up. And on February 17, I already was injured  in Avdiivka.

I joined the army and was drafted in 1984. I was sent  to Afghanistan, served in the 8th special forces battalion 8486. And during one of the operations, I  was hit by an Italian mine. One leg was torn off, the other was broken. The doctors saved at least one leg, and I'm happy. February 20, 1986.

For some reason, I have a lot of good things connected with February – my son was born on February 20, and bad things – on February 20, I was blown up. And on February 17, I already was injured  in Avdiivka.

Our students felt more horror than I did in Afghanistan

There was a direct hit was into the apartment. According to the fragments that were there, they determined that this was the 125th shell from the tank. At that time, I left the hall, went to the kitchen, and got knocked up. Just a moment or a few seconds before the explosion, I went to the kitchen to drink tea. I went to the window and opened the curtain to see what was happening. The shelling started – and the first shell hit the 14-storey building.

Here in front of the stove there was my favorite chair. I sat down near the gas stove, turned on the gas, opened the curtain and it just hit. I was almost thrown out of the window into the street by the blast wave.

Our students felt more horror than I did in Afghanistan

The projectile flew directly to my balcony, caught the corner. All the main walls collapsed, the ceiling fell, the floor in the hall and in the bedroom. The refrigerator in the kitchen and the toilet in the toilet survived. This is what's left of my apartment.

Until I caught my breath, until I found my crutches, which were broken… Dust, fumes from the shell explosion were everywhere. Children and neighbors were shouting.

I got a concussion. I only realized on the third day that I was shell-shocked. Everyone was in shock. I had a scar on my head, a hematoma.

We spent three days without the Ministry of emergency situations raking everything here, looking for documents. My friends helped me, as well as my younger son and his friends.

Why do I remember a certain time? The clock stopped – 15 minutes past five, 17: 15. For a long time, for perhaps a month, I was shaking at this time.

Our students felt more horror than I did in Afghanistan

What was left of my apartment after the explosion? Nothing. Everything was destroyed literally to the ground, and everything needs to be restored. No bedding, no clothes, no shoes, nothing left.

Nicholas the Wonderworker helps me in life. I have an icon. After Afghanistan, I started carving icons on wood. I think: for some reason it was crushed, something lifted me from this sofa, said: "Go out, go somewhere." It destroyed the icon.

I created it in 2001. It was consecrated on May 9 – my mother-in-law took it to church. The icon was consecrated. And a lot of people attached themselves to this icon, it was our family icon. I said, " Nicholas the Wonderworker, our intercessor, intercede before the Lord God."

As an Afghan veteran, I was invited to schools. I came to the children for lessons, they asked me: "Tell us what you felt." I looked at these students, in the fifth and seventh grades. I looked at these faces, these kids  were 12-15 years old. They experienced more themselves than I did in Afghanistan. They have now learned what war is. I never felt  like that.

The most important thing is to end this war. It I the most important. And then there will be all the recovery and work. I just want to work and live in peace.

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