Eastern Ukraine: ‘Every day I see people with lost arms and legs’ | World | News

She works for Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital, a Ukrainian health NGO that has been providing evacuations and emergency medical care to people in combat zones in Ukraine since 2014, when Russia first invaded.

Before that, Svetlana worked in the emergency room of a Ukrainian hospital.

The wounded and traumatized are evacuated daily by train to civilian and military hospitals in Dnieper and kyiv.

They arrive in ambulances from the battle scenes, receive emergency treatment in Donetsk, then are placed in medical cars aboard passenger trains traveling west.

Civilian and military casualties are transported separately. Most of the people she sees are suffering from gunshot wounds or from Grad rocket, artillery or mortar fire.

Svetlana’s group also served in the kyiv region in March, when fighting raged as the Russians attempted to seize the Ukrainian capital.

In both cases, she said, civilians were targeted alongside Ukrainian soldiers.

Svetlana said: “The Russian army deliberately fired on hospitals, ambulances and evacuated civilians.”

“Every day I see people who have lost arms and legs.” When the war finally ends, she says, the true cost of these attacks will become apparent. “It will be a huge problem. Besides the psychological trauma, there are years of rehabilitation,” she added.

Perhaps counterintuitively, children overcome trauma better than adults.

Svetlana said: “But they look different from other children, older than their age.” She’s in a mobile unit that goes where it’s needed most. All the while, there is the threat that the doctors or the hospitals they work in will come under fire.”

And she said: “Thank God we haven’t lost anyone here yet. But in kyiv some of our doctors were tragically killed.” “Every day I see people with lost arms and legs”

Martin E. Berry