The injured Ukrainian soldier is receiving care in Scotland

With wounds, Artem

Only Artem, a Ukrainian soldier, is receiving medical attention in a Scottish hospital for his wounds.

The 41-year-old father of five had no intention of joining the military.

He was a professional musician before the Russian invasion a year ago, playing in a popular band and majoring in classical singing at the national conservatoire.

His wife and four of his children left Kyiv when the war broke out and traveled to Scotland as part of the Homes for Ukraine program.

Artem and his oldest son made the decision to remain and fight.

It was very difficult, he claims. Being unsure of how long we would be apart was a heavy burden for me because I am a family man and adore my wife and kids.

That's just how it is, but what can you do? I had to stand up for my country. ".

He was at an observation post in the eastern Ukrainian town of Zaitseve in August of last year when a mortar shell descended nearby.

No explosions were heard, just darkness, dust, and heat near his groin from the hot shell debris, he claims. "I felt a flash, but I didn't hear anything," he adds.

At first, Artem wasn't sure, but he thought his hand and leg were hurt.

Quickly stopping the bleeding, the medical staff applied tourniquets.

He claims that is when the agony that felt like hell began.

The feeling of having your injured joints pulled tight and fixed in place cannot be described by those who have not gone through it. That hurt so much. ".

Artem with injuries
In eastern Ukraine, Artem was hurt by a mortar shell.

Artem questioned whether he would live, but the pain made him believe he had a chance of surviving.

He was informed that his body contained over 100 pieces of shrapnel.

Months later, as he continues his recovery in Glasgow with his family, scars and pockmarks can still be seen all over his arm.

He first received emergency care in a military hospital close to Kyiv before arriving in Scotland in late December.

Artem claims that while he had heard of injured companions seeking medical care abroad, none had traveled to Scotland.

Organizing his move took months, and his wife needed a letter of invitation to receive NHS care at Glasgow's Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

He has been visiting the doctor on a regular basis for outpatient appointments to monitor nerve damage in his hand and to receive physiotherapy to regain mobility.

Artem in Ukraine
Artem never intended to join the military.

Being the only Ukrainian soldier in Scotland, according to Artem, is puzzling.

Poland and the Baltic states, for example, have formal agreements that allow injured Ukrainian soldiers to receive medical care and be with their families.

Artem had to make his own plans, and he wants to make it simpler for others to do the same.

"Scotland has enough hospitals, infrastructure, and very high quality medicine to help a greater number of injured fighters," the man claims.

"When I was a soldier, I was shocked to learn that I was the first to receive treatment in Scotland.

I wouldn't have found myself in this situation if my family weren't already present. ".

Artem claims he is pleased to be with his family, who have adapted well to life in Scotland.

"My family is very happy here. The children attend school, the youngest attends a nursery, and my wife attends a college where she is working on her English," he claims.

"Your nation is wonderful, with a colorful and valiant past.

Although your weather is similar to ours, it is too damp. It keeps raining. ".

Prior to the invasion, Artem's life was dominated by music, and he had never anticipated having to defend his nation.

Artem playing guitar
Artem had a successful music career before the invasion.

He first defended Kiev, but in April he was drafted into the Ukrainian army and sent to the east of the nation.

He claims, "We entered a kind of hell from the first day.".

He was overwhelmed by the artillery fire's constant barrage.

More than 400 shells were launched in our direction in a single hour, according to one of his companions' calculations, he says.

He engaged in combat in towns close to Bakhmut, which has seen some of the war's most intense engagements.

"My greatest victory is that I, and my companions, did not yield to the feeling of fear, we did not leave our positions, we did not run or retreat, but we stood and carried out the orders that were given to us," he claims.

As is to be expected, Artem claims that the war has made him more jaded and made him hate his adversaries. However, he now values life much more as a result of it.

According to him, "I began to treasure life itself, the fact that I am alive while many of my comrades are not. ".

Artem communicates frequently with his senior officers to keep them informed of his progress.

Artem has hope for Ukraine's future as long as Western support persists, even though the war shows no signs of coming to an end as the first anniversary approaches.

And does he believe he will return to the conflict?

He says, "It's my duty to do that.".

Olena Nechyporuk is doing the translation and interpretation.

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