Saturday, 19 September 2015

A young Hero.

The young man in the centre of the picture, between myself and Inna, is Vitaliy Panasjuk, a 26-year-old lad from the Ukrainian city of Lutsk.

When Putin's hordes invaded Ukraine in the spring of 2014, Vitaliy volunteered to defend his country. He is not a professional soldier, he is a volunteer. He fought at Donbass, and has been decorated. Vitaliy is a very softly spoken, modest young man. He is still young enough that he hasn't really decided what to do with his life, but he thinks that he might want to continue to serve his country as a professional soldier.

Vitaliy has suffered from what we call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It is interesting to
note that this has been picked up very quickly - certainly more quickly than would be the case in the British Armed Forces - and Vitaliy was referred to an art project set up to help soldiers like him to come to terms with their issues.

He enjoyed the experience, and as a result has even sold a painting. And he shared his thoughts with us today, together with his comrade Olexander, another Donbass veteran.

We wish Vitaliy and his fellow fighters the very best, they are on the front line of the defence against the barbarity of the Moscow hordes.

Many thanks to Andriy Kuzmenko, Charge D'Affaires at the Ukrainian Embassy in Brussels for making possible this very special afternoon, with great music, great food, and above all great company.