Defender’s Diary: Yuri Hudymenko. Independence Day

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Yuri Hudymenko, 34, hails from Zaporizhia. A historian by education, Yuri became a sapper when the full-scale war began, and is serving in the 130th battalion of the Armed Forces of Ukraine’s Territorial Defense, and shares his unique perspective on the war via social media. Hudymenko was in Mariupol when it was under attack, and fought in Irpin, Bucha and Kharkiv oblast, where he was wounded in battle and rescued by fellow soldiers. This brave defender shared his thoughts on the occasion of Ukraine’s 31st anniversary of Independence.

Tomorrow morning, you will open your eyes and it will be Independence Day.

You will check your social feeds, and see posts with things that have become commonplace for you, and make the rest of the world marvel.

You will see your friends pool their money to buy something for the front, rebuild a destroyed home, and rescue cats from razed villages.

You will see yet another video of our soldiers, dancing and joking in conditions that would make anybody else cry. You will see pictures from hell, and of the people who have become more dangerous than all the devils in that hell.

You will go out, and stand in line for your coffee between a soldier, who was popping “vogs” at enemy infantry the day before yesterday, and a doctor, who operated on the wounded for two-and-a-half days straight in February, took a brief nap in his office, and then went back to work, fueled only by enthusiasm, nicotine and the words “tak treba” [this must be done].

Then, you will go back home, look in the mirror, and see what a person with scars on their soul looks like.

You recall where every scar came from:

This one is from the rocket that leveled the building two blocks away. This scar came from seeing photos from Bucha for the first time. This one is from Azovstal. This one is from your kid’s godfather, who will never be coming back from Bakhmut.

This is what Independence looks like. It is not in poems or songs. It is in action. In people’s actions.

Actions always leave scars.

Tomorrow morning, you will open your eyes and it will be Independence Day.

Two days from now, you will open your eyes, and it will be Independence Day.

Three days from today, you will open your eyes, and it will be Independence Day.

You are Independence, and every day is yours.

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About

In July 2022, the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) and the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine signed a Memorandum of Cooperation to support the UNITED24 fundraising platform. The first joint project is the "Army of Drones". This program includes drone procurement, delivery, maintenance and replacement, as well as pilot training.

The project will raise funds to purchase 200 professional unmanned drone systems for aerial reconnaissance. They are vital equipment that Ukraine's defenders need in order to fight off the Russian invasion.

The Drone Army will allow the defenders of Ukraine to constantly monitor an enormous 2 470 km frontline and support an effective response to enemy attacks.

About UNITED 24

UNITED24 was launched by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy as the main venue for collecting charitable donations in support of Ukraine. Funds will be transferred to the official accounts of the National Bank of Ukraine and allocated by assigned ministries to cover the most pressing needs.

About Ukrainian World Congress

Established in 1967, the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) is the global voice for the Ukrainian people worldwide. As an international NGO, we represent the interests of more than 20 million Ukrainians in the diaspora, unite Ukrainian communities and organizations in 60+ countries, and work to support a democratic, prosperous, European Ukraine.

The UWC is recognized by the United Nations Economic and Social Council as a non-governmental organization with special consultative status and has a participatory status as an international non-governmental organization with the Council of Europe.

The UWC is part of the global Ukrainian family. We are working with trusted partners on procurement and logistics for this initiative. Our many long-standing relationships with organizations in Ukraine put us in a unique position to quickly and efficiently provide the defenders of Ukraine with the help that they need.

The UWC is an organization that has volunteerism at its core. Our passion for our work drives our desire to maximize the impact of every donation made. We will update our donors on the impact of their donations as the Unite with Ukraine campaign progresses.

The UWC is also leading global coordination and logistics for the Ukrainian community, and other NGO support efforts.

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