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  • Writer's pictureOleksiy

Before leaving the Azovstal, she said "Have faith." The story of Tatiana Vasilchenko aka "Borisovna"

At the age of 49, accountant Tatiana Vasilchenko retired and suddenly decided to become a paramedic.

This is how Tatiana's sister, Natalia, described her strong desire to join Hospitallers: "She wouldn't have done otherwise: being on retirement and doing nothing isn't for her. She is a maximalist — if she has decided something, that's it."

Tatiana was trained in Pavlograd to join Hospitallers and started going on rotations in October 2021. She was sent in the direction of Mariupol.

Hospitaller Tatiana Vasilchenko aka "Borisovna"

On February 23, Natalia escorted her sister to the train to Mariupol.

"She was concerned. She told me: "The guys say something strange is going on, but we'll see." She was serious and said she would call me upon arrival," Natalia recalls.

There was barely any connection with Tatiana. Her texts were brief: "I'm alive, everything is fine, I'll be in touch." She warned our relatives in the Khmelnytsky region about air raids and asking not to ignore them and hide in a bomb shelter instead.

After March 2, there was no connection with Tatiana. Her relatives had a hard time going through this period. There was no news from Tatiana for 15 days. Tatiana's crew moved to Mariupol and then to the Azovstal.

Those who managed to stay connected passed the "medieval letter" to their relatives. It was a photo of a paper note with information on people spotted there.

Most likely, every family has its keywords, which were written on this note. There we noticed a message from Tatiana, telling us that she was alive and everything was fine.

On May 16, before leaving the Azovstal, Tatiana sent her daughter a short message saying, "Have faith." At first, Ekaterina didn't catch what this was about. But when the news about the evacuation from the Azovstal became publicly known, she finally figured out the mother's message.

On May 24, Natalia saw Tatiana on one of the videos on Russian channels. The paramedic was standing at the end of the line in a hood.

"She looked serious, concentrated, and collected. A couple of seconds — and she was taken away to pull out stuff."

Ekaterina immediately started making phone calls to all the hotlines. Tatiana was confirmed to be on the list of evacuees from the Azovstal. The next day, the girl got a phone call from the Red Cross, saying that they had communicated with Tatiana and had seen her in person. On June 8, Tatiana herself contacted her family. "She said she was held captive."

Borisovna spent five months in captivity together with the military people and other paramedics from the Azovstal. No one has heard anything from her during that period.

The next time her family heard her voice, she was released from captivity and brought back to Ukraine. On the day when the crew with the released prisoners of war arrived in Ukraine, Tatiana called her daughter. She said, "Katya, I'm in Ukraine." After that, Tatiana was in rehabilitation and went home soon.

Her heroic act hasn't been forgotten. On December 5, a ceremony was held to present volunteers with the Golden Heart Award from the President of Ukraine. One of the 50 awarded volunteers was Borisovna.

Hospitaller Tatiana Vasilchenko aka "Borisovna"

We are immensely proud of the paramedics who continue saving hundreds of wounded and risking their lives. They never stop working and having faith, so we must follow their example. #Hospitallers #Paramedics #UkraineParamedics #HospitallersUkraine #HospitallersUK #HelpHospitallers #Ukraine #SupportUkraine #HelpUkraine #StandWithUkraine #HelpUkraineNow

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