Nearly 60,000 Ukrainians Became Disabled As a Result of Donbas War
29 May, 2019
A Ukrainian soldier in Hnutove village, near the city of Mariupol in the Donetsk region of Ukraine on March 30, 2016. EPA

Nearly 60,000 Ukrainians became disabled as a result of the Donbas war. More than 250 of them had to get parts of their bodies amputated.

This was stated by the Ukrainian deputy minister for veteran affairs Oleksandr Tereshchenko during the round table organized by Rotary International on May 29 in Kyiv.

"These are the people just like me," said Tereshchenko who lost both of his arms during the tragic 2014-2015 battle for the Donetsk airport.

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However, the biggest problem the soldiers experience after returning to civilian life is psychological trauma, Tereshchenko emphasized. 

"I can say this as a soldier: it doesn't end when you return from war. The war does not let you go and that has horrible consequences. You can come back in one piece but as you return, I repeat, the war does not let you go," he said speaking about the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and high suicide rates.

According to the deputy minister who cited international organizations, there are more Donbas soldiers who took their own lives than those who died during the military actions.

Another problem Tereshchenko highlighted was that there is no single register of the Donbas war veterans. This is one of the key tasks set by the ministry for veteran affairs created at the end of 2018.

There are around 400,000 soldiers who took part in the war in the east. Of those, 80,000 have not been registered by a single institution and therefore their whereabouts or medical conditions remain unknown.

"They leave the frontline and practically dissolve in this world... That's a huge problem. Creating a single electronic register would allow us to analyze data and ensure that every veteran receives decent social support. In terms of budget, it's a very expensive affair but we will do it, I guarantee," Tereshchenko said.

The ministry for veteran affairs is still in the process of formation and is expected to start service in early July.

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/By Maria Romanenko