An immigrant returned from the USA to Ukraine to fight, and became a platoon commander - ForumDaily
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An immigrant returned from the US to Ukraine to fight and became a platoon commander

A graduate of KPI, former Engineering Director at Luxoft, Yury has been living in the USA for three years. When he learned that a war had begun in Ukraine, he decided to return to Kyiv and join the Armed Forces of Ukraine, reports Dev.ua.

Photo: Shutterstock

This story is about an IT specialist who left a comfortable life overseas in order to defend his homeland.

call friends

When the war began in Ukraine, Yuriy (the last name and current place of work are not disclosed for security reasons) was resting after a hard day's work in Seattle. “My friends called me and said that the war had begun. I did not understand what these people were talking about and hung up. After 10 minutes, after watching the news, he called back and asked where they were. They were near Chernigov, and tanks were already entering there, ”says the guy.

On the subject: Books, yoga, foreign languages: world services give free subscription to all Ukrainians

Yuri realized that something had to be done. “But what exactly, I didn’t immediately understand, because I tried to get through to the Ukrainian consulate in the USA for the first day, there are three of them. My wife tried to do the same, but we never got through,” he says. The guy admits that there were many opinions in his head how to get to Kyiv. What if, at the time of arrival, the capital will already be cordoned off, what then, how to break through?

At first, Yuriy thought about sending some humanitarian aid, but quickly realized that there was no longer any air connection with Ukraine.

“And then my wife bought me a plane ticket with a departure date in a day. At the same time, we asked our relatives, military personnel, what to take with us, what was missing,” says the IT specialist.

Everything that experienced military men advised, Yuri began to look for in local stores. The list included thermal underwear, corded NATO boots (SB NATO), a frame backpack and more sneakers. “I collected all this, bought a bulletproof vest, wrote a post on Facebook with an offer to bring something, to which the girls responded with a request to get medicine for sick children in Lviv. Then he threw it all into a backpack and flew away, ”says Yuri.

Long road and bus to Teremki

His path was not easy: from Seattle, the guy flew to Frankfurt, from there to Krakow, where he was met by Polish female volunteers and taken to the Ukrainian-Polish border. “In Krakow, very sincere girls met me in their car. I called them babushka SWAT, they write to me every day. They met refugees at the border, offered to carry my backpack to the border crossing. I was very surprised by such sensitivity. They took our plight as something personal. Their men, children, and they spend all their time helping people from Ukraine,” says Yuriy.

The guy crossed the border on foot.

“They looked at me like I was a complete idiot, they were surprised that I needed to go to Ukraine for some reason, they asked if I was definitely not lost. I replied that everything was fine and I was definitely in the right direction, ”recalls the IT specialist.

On the question of how to get to Lviv, at the border, Yuriy was answered vaguely, they say, how you want, get there. For three hours, a Ukrainian who returned from the United States tried to catch a car, “At the third hour, a guy from Odessa stopped, who brought his family to the border and returned to sleep in Lviv, and then back to Odessa,” says Yuriy. With him, the IT specialist drove to Lviv, where he met with a former colleague who was engaged in the relocation of employees of a large IT outsourcer.

“The company took people out of Kyiv on buses, and they didn’t have a driver to return. I volunteered to help, ”says the guy. The beads were driven to the Volyn region, loaded with humanitarian cargo and went to the capital.

House, recruiting office, war

Yuri had to get to Kyiv in the Teremkov district - where his parents kept his military ID, without which the guy could not go to the military registration and enlistment office. “I am an officer, junior lieutenant after the military department at the KPI. Military specialty - communications. And the documents were with the parents. We stopped in Kyiv as soon as the curfew ended. I took the documents, and the guys on the way to VDNKh - their destination - threw me into the military registration and enlistment office, ”says Yuri.

Yuriy was one of the first to come to the draft board that day. “They asked me who I am, where I live. The information that I do not live in Ukraine pleasantly surprised me there. The officer who distributed the people said that he was also a signalman by profession, but people with such a profile are not being distributed now, ”says Yury. He offered to sit next to him and deal with the reception and paperwork of recruits.

But this option did not suit Yuri.

“I asked if there was another option, and I was offered service in a separate brigade (the number is not indicated for security reasons),” says Yuri.

Currently, the American IT specialist is the commander of a rifle platoon defending the Kyiv region. For obvious reasons, Yuri does not tell details about his work. “All the details, if possible, after the war,” says the guy.

"Don't Make a Hero of Me"

Yuri says he doesn't consider himself a hero. “I am not unique in my decision. I have eight people in the platoon who went through the war. And there are guys who fought for more than one year, ”he says.

He describes his motivation as follows: “I will soon have a child, a pregnant wife at home. And I thought that if in five years a child asks me what Ukraine is, and I answer that this is a place where your grandparents could be killed. And then the child will ask: where have you been? And I won't have a good answer. I realized that I couldn't live with it. That's why I came."

The guy admits that a vivid impression for him in this war is a children's drawing, which volunteers gave him.

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants, and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York.

And also hot khachapuri. “These were the most delicious khachapuri in my life, we were treated at the checkpoint by a man whose car we were inspecting. At 5 am I don't know where he got them. Hot, in the middle of the field at -9, ”says an IT specialist who joined the army.

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