Open Dialog Foundation arranges wounded Maidan activists’ treatment in Poland
On Wednesday, seven persons wounded in the clashes on the Maidan flew from Kiev Boryspil Airport to Poland for medical treatment. This is the first such group, whose transportation was organised by Open Dialog Foundation in consultation with other stakeholders. On the part of the Foundation, the action was coordinated by Marian Prysyazhnyuk from Kolomyia, who speaks Polish fluently. Before the outbreak of protests on the Maidan, he studied and worked in Warsaw. Now, he divides his time between the two capitals. Over the last few weeks he has been gathering documents necessary for the trip: visas, insurance certificates, medical records, airline tickets, and he has also organised the conditions for receipt of the wounded persons with hospitals in Poznan as well as local carers.
At the terminal, the patients were gathering gradually: young students, middle-aged men, and one girl. I managed to exchange a few words with some of them. The first person to come was Vitaliy Diaczuk from the town of Belaya Tserkov; a limping man, smiling from ear to ear and leaning on a wooden cane inlaid with strange symbols. This young student of political science and health management enthusiastically talked about his first attendance in the Maidan back on 23 November. Later, he would regularly be present on the Maidan: on 30 November, during the pacification of protesters by Berkut; after 16 January, when the Supreme Council signed the dictatorial laws. He took part in the riot on 22 January. – “We wanted to storm the subway, because it wasn’t operating” - he laughs. A month later, on the evening of 18 February on Hrushevskoho Street, shrapnel from a grenade wounded him in both legs. Nine fragments are still stuck in sensitive places, because Ukrainian doctors considered their removal too dangerous. If this were done incompetently, Vitaliy could be left paralysed for life. - I have one piece of shrapnel in my knee; another is stuck very close to the femoral artery. Perun [a Slavic god] saved me - he chuckles and explains that he is fascinated with Slavic deities. He hopes that perhaps in Poland he will eventually receive professional treatment. He mentions incidentally that he suffered facial injuries from gas, which volunteers helped him treat and that he had been lucky as he could have also lost his sight.
Maxim Melnychuk from Cherkassy is sitting next to Vitaliy. After the laws were passed on 16 January, he went to the Maidan. He took part in the riots at Hrushevskoho Street, the old Dinamo stadium, where rubber bullets were fired at protesters. Hit by a grenade, he suffered burns to his legs. A month later, after the escape of President Yanukovych, Maxim was already in Cherkassy, where he was severely beaten by Berkut. Police officers even struck immobilised people, lying on the shields, blows rained down on their arms, legs and backs. - For three days, I could not speak. I confused words. Even now, I often feel dizzy and I have difficulty sleeping - confesses Maximus, who was taken to a hospital in the town of Monastirishche after the battery. Now he awaits further rehabilitation in Poznan.
With other victims I have a shorter conversation. One of them shows me on a phone photos taken of him after the battery. He speaks very decent Polish, because he happened to work seasonally in Warka and Grójec. The second man lives close to the Polish border. He shows me his local border traffic permit. When checking in, we are accompanied by Artyom Myrgorodskiy from the organisation ‘Safety and Medicial Aid’ – ‘Bezpechne Transportuvannya’, meritorious in the rehabilitation of the injured. – “We have sent approximately 170 wounded people to hospitals in various countries across Europe. We have such a rich medical database that we often give it to the Ministry of Health” – he explains. From the Polish side, the transfer of the wounded was supported by Education for Democracy Foundation, while medical treatment in Poland is financed by the Council of Wielkopolska Voivodeship [Sejmik Województwa Wielkopolskiego].
On the way back from the airport, a mother of one of the fighters accompanies us. I ask her what she thinks of her son’s participation in the fighting. – “I was stressed out by it. But, above all, I am proud of him” – she says with her head held high. Marian, the coordinator of the action, is also proud and very happy with the properly completed task. I'm trying to get his general reflection. – “I think that we showed with our determination that as Ukrainians, we deserve freedom, and not only its substitute” - he says.