Russians killed relatives, and then distributed gingerbread to children, - sapper Halasha

Russians killed relatives, and then distributed gingerbread to children, – sapper Halasha

In just one week of work, Volyn sappers discovered and destroyed 114 munitions left by the Russian occupiers on the territory of the Donetsk region. And these are 36 cluster warheads 9Н210, 64 units of anti-personnel high-explosive mines “Petals” (Soviet production), 4 units of detonators for anti-tank mines, 8 fragmentation munitions VOG-17, VOG-25 and artillery shells of various calibers. And in Chernihiv Oblast, more than 1,600 explosive objects were neutralized in 55 days.

Vitaliy Halasha, head of the pyrotechnic work group of the special emergency and rescue squad of the Main Department of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine in the Volyn region, told Espresso about the work of sappers in the war zone.

The worst thing is the stories of people you hear every day

The emergency worker says that he wanted to be a soldier when he was still at school. At one time, he went to study at a military institute, and after that the circumstances turned out to be such that he retrained as a sapper. He admits that he had no idea that his work would have such a scale.

“Of course, this type of work has always existed, because we are still demining the consequences not only of the Second World War, but also of the First World War. In addition, there are many trips to dispose of ammunition at the request of the public, when people found obsolete shells in gardens or fields “, says Mr. Vitaly.

But now the work has a slightly different character. After all, we also have to work directly with the population that has experienced terrible events. Saper notes that this is almost the most difficult moment in his work, because he passes every story through himself.

“Our work does not scare us. The scariest thing is the stories of people that you hear every day. After all, after completing tasks, talking with the local population takes up a lot of time. It’s one thing when you see it on TV, and it’s quite another to hear it live. You have to go through all of this yourself Although over time, of course, a certain immunity develops,” says the paramedic.

Mr. Vitaly remembers with particular sadness a little boy who told how enemy shells flew into his house, and then Russian soldiers gave gingerbread to the orphaned children.

“You know, the cynicism of the Russians just goes off the scale. When we worked after the deoccupation in the Chernihiv region, in the village of Yagidne, there were really striking moments. The family hid in the basement, and the Russian soldiers came there to shoot at them. This is what a 5-year-old boy told me , who received shrapnel wounds. His grandfather was shot at point-blank range, his mother was wounded. And then Muscovites gave that child a gingerbread. It’s scary to realize how much they have already suffered in childhood,” the deminer recalls.

One day of war equals thirty days of demining

The rescuer believes that after everything that is happening now, it is simply necessary to rethink the approach to the service of a sapper.

“The danger of our work is reduced by the fact that the guys are ideological. We don’t chase after awards or money, everyone has a sense of duty. We understand that there is nowhere in our work without us, because the first thing is to carry out demining, and then everything else. People will not go to their homes until the sappers do their work. Therefore, we understand that the more we work, the faster life will return here,” he adds.

Stress resistance is a mandatory requirement for a qualified sapper. However, it is sometimes mistakenly confused with fearlessness.

“To be a good sapper, you need to be calm and cool-headed about everything. It’s also important to be afraid. When fear disappears, it doesn’t matter, and when it doesn’t matter, then unpleasant situations arise. Now our guys are everywhere: in the North, in the South, not only in the East. Although we are more familiar with the East, since we have been there several times since 2014, since the time of the anti-terrorist operation. We demine both what comes and what remains, that is, we clear everything,” says the sapper.

In addition to demining, sappers are also constantly present during the demolition of rubble. Therefore, when their colleagues find explosive objects, work is stopped and pyrotechnic masters are taken to task. According to Vitaly Galashi, one day of war equals thirty days of demining.

Espresso continues the series of stories about Heroes of Ukraine who defended and are defending the country from Russian invaders. Read more stories in our column of the same name “Heroes of Ukraine”.

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