"When everything explodes and we drive in a green pickup truck - life seems like a computer game"
Before the full-scale invasion, 22-year-old Rina Resnik studied biophysics, planned to defend her master's degree in Okinawa, and wanted to study neurophysiology. But from the first days of the war, she joined Territorial Defense Forces, and then the volunteer medical battalion "Hospitallers". In between rotations and shelling, she continues to study programming.
“Hospitallers give you a great degree of freedom, the ability to work exactly where you want and take positions that you consider more suitable for your level of competence. People can choose what intensity of battles is acceptable for them, someone is ready to go to Bakhmut and Soledar. For others, it is not okay, but it is comfortable to stay somewhere near Zaporizhzhia, where shelling is not so regular," she says.
The girl notes that she likes the fact that she can choose not only the location, but also the stage of the evacuation: a casevac (transportation of wounded directly from war zones on a pickup truck), or a medevac (resuscitation and transportation of the wounded from stabilization points to hospitals on ambulances).
"I am, after all, a civilian person who does not receive money for my work, and when I spend a lot of time, I want to spend it intensively, and, in fact, where I am definitely urgently needed. For me, it was an opportunity to "travel ” through the combat zones to those places where medics or paramedics are actually needed right now, and that led to the decision to join the Hospitallers,” she said.
The most difficult month of the war for Rina was the end of August and the beginning of September. It was at this time that her crew was on duty in Soledar, doing casevac.
"Actually, during that month, we evacuated, I think, more than a hundred people. There were regular shellings, there were many evacuations every day. Actually, the car was fully staffed with people, with just an unrealistic number of people for 4 seater car. It was filled with the wounded, seriously wounded or not, and there were shell-shocked people in the back of the car, with whom we still needed to keep in touch. And we, the crew, adapted to what was happening there.
On the first day, when we arrived at the place where we were staying, the Kalibr missile reached us. We inhaled a lot of concrete dust. But, probably, it was also the best month at the same time, because it was clear that we are in our place, doing an important thing, and without us, it would be difficult here," the girl recalls.
Civilians should know that the "Hospitallers" are a volunteer medical and sanitary battalion. It consists of both professional medics and trained medical tactics, people with no medical education but who are thoroughly tested before being sent to the east of Ukraine.
"Some of us have been going to eastern Ukraine for the ninth year as volunteers, receiving neither salary nor rank for this. We are one of the most fully "equipped" medics who have everything to evacuate the wounded under protection. You must know that unlike other medical volunteers, only we work directly on the war zone, taking the wounded literally almost from the trenches. Hospitallers anesthesiologists, one of the few, work both at night and under fire. There have been several cases when all the medics left the headquarters, and we stayed," she says.
Rina shared that the war has become a routine to some extent, the same as going to work. In such cases, it is difficult for a girl to pull herself out of an emotional hole.
"In such moments, only the team helps. I am very lucky with the guys, we are like a family. We play chess together, watch movies, and hug. If I am very sad and scared, I can crawl into someone's bed so that it is not so nasty to fall asleep alone. Sometimes they even read bedtime stories to me," she smiles.
But Rina has no regrets. This war gave her ease and understanding of the constant fragility of the world. Previously, she felt the tension of the geopolitical atmosphere, the anxiety of the environment, and then the world seemed plastic. But now everything has fallen into place and she understands that she is exactly where she should be.
It is difficult for her to answer the question of how she sees Ukraine's victory. But it is definitely about a completely free Ukraine.
"As for the victory, I would say that we have already won, because we have not lost, but increased our subjectness. We have become synonymous with honor and conscience for the whole world," she says.
Paramedics continue to work and evacuate hundreds of lives every day. And our support and encouragement are very important to them. Together we bring our victory closer! #Ukraine #SupportUkraine #HelpUkraine #StandWithUkraine #HelpUkraineNow #Hospitallers #Paramedics #UkraineParamedics #HospitallersUkraine #HospitallersUK #HelpHospitallers