Maksym, along with his brother Ivan, signed up to fight for Ukraine as soon as the invasion began. The inseparable brothers always kept close to each other. Until a Russian sniper separated them.
Maksym, along with his brother Ivan, signed up to fight for Ukraine as soon as the invasion began. The inseparable brothers always kept close to each other. Until a Russian sniper separated them. The man managed to save his brother, but lost his own life.
Brothers Maksym and Ivan practically from the beginning of the invasion took part in the fight for the defense of Ukraine. Despite their young age, they decided to help themselves. Maxim was 22 at the time, and Ivan was only 18.
The younger brother, who was severely wounded during the fighting, says that they were inseparable: “He was always with me and I with him. He was the dearest person to me.” However, one Russian sniper disconnected them…
As time passes and the war progresses, you can see two joyful boys, smiling young men, gradually becoming more serious, losing their innocence to the horrors of war.
They spent their last moments in Bakhmut, fighting brutally and moving from one building to another. “It was impossible to sleep there. We were attacked 24/7,” says Ivan.
At one point, their entire unit was trapped in a windowless building. To be able to hold their position, they had to carve holes in the walls for firing positions. At some point, they were ordered to withdraw. However, Ivan was hit while reloading the weapon. “I remember reloading; I came out from behind the wall and there was a flash. I was paralyzed and fell.”
A conscious Maksym quickly rushed to his rescue, dragged him back to the building and began administering first aid while calling the emergency department. Maxim was forced to make a hole in Ivan's neck so that he wouldn't choke on the wound inflicted on his face.
The medics who first heard the call died on the way to the brothers, waiting for the next ones for nine hours. “My brother wouldn't let me die. He saved me” says Ivan. Maksym, however, did not go with his brother to a safe place. He volunteered to stay in Bakhmut and lead their unit. A week later, he was killed by a Russian sniper.
Funerals in Ukraine are part of everyday life, just like the sounds of emergency sirens. Maxim's funeral, however, was different. The whole city of Tomakivka came to honor the memory of the fallen and pay their respects. Some knelt as the funeral procession passed, others hugged flowers or a Ukrainian flag. And the gloomy music was complemented by the sobs of the gathered.
Ivan and Maksym's mother waited every day for news from her sons confirming that they were alive. Often, only short reassuring messages came to her: “Mom, you're fine.” Until the last, worst one comes.
All she has left is her younger son, Ivan. Maxim could have gone to safety to accompany his brother in convalescence, but he did not and did not abandon his younger and less experienced companions, for which he paid the ultimate price. Maksym's story is the story of thousands of men dying every day in defense of Ukraine.
We understood that we might not come back, but it's an honor to fight for Ukraine. So I don't regret it in any way. My brother gave his life for our freedom. Unfortunately, freedom comes with blood.