“Frontline” is a very vague concept. It’s a term defining a degree of danger in the areas adjacent to the territory of eastern Ukraine now occupied by pro-Russian forces. There is a yellow, a green and a red zone. Those who were destined to live in the red zone were the most unlucky ones.

Dmitry Chernyshov is one of those unlucky. On July 22, 2018 he stepped on trip wire in his own backyard.

When he regained consciousness after the injury, he couldn’t see anything because he felt that some kind of warm dark red liquid flowed from the head into his eyes. He fainted again and woke up to the realize that someone was dragging him on the ground. He experienced loss of consciousness four times. A few days later, he found out that the warm red liquid that filled his eyes was his own blood, the man who was dragging him was his friend who himself was seriously wounded, and the pain from rubbing against stones was caused by his 200 shrapnel wounds.

When the war broke out in his home town of Maryinka in war-affected eastern Ukraine, Dmitry’s wife took their son and left for Cherkasy region. Dmitry stayed in Maryinka trying to keep his job at mine and guard their house against prowlers. After 3 years of war, his son Daniel expressed his desire to return home to live with the father. Dmitry’s wife decided not to return and she sent the boy alone to live with his Dad. Since then, Dmitry and his son have been living together. Having returned to his home town, Dmitry’s son Daniel found out that they had to move from their beautiful newly repaired house to a small 1-bedroom grandmother’s apartment.

“Military men came up to me one day and said: “You should move out of here, because your house is blocking our ability to see the targets, – Dmitry shares. – If you want to survive, move out!” I took some of my belongings and moved to my mother’s apartment. I would still visit my house occasionally to make sure that the prowlers haven’t taken everything. After all, my house was robbed several times after I moved out! They took our coffee maker, microwave, some expensive European heating radiators, clothes and even dishes. If the thieves could only know how hard it was for me to make money in the mine to buy all those things! After the robberies, of course, there was a terrible mess in the house, the contents of the cabinets and shelves were on the floor and half of the things were gone. They only left some large furniture items and some cheap clothes. But still, I couldn’t help returning to my house to see what’s happening there. I could have never imagined before the war that I would ever need to show my address of registration in my passport to be able to see enter my house!”

On July 22, 2018, Dmitry with a friend and his son went to the house by car to get some tools that he needed. Both adults left the car having left Dmitry’s son 2 blocks away from the house and decided to walk there.

Usually, when my Dad goes to visit our house, I often call him on the phone while he is there to make sure that he is OK – 12-year-old Daniel shares with sadness. – That day I also called him three times. Dad’s friend Oleg told me on the phone that everything was alright. Then there was an explosion in that direction. I kept calling them but both of the phones were disconnected. I called dozens of times but nothing helped. When I realized that my Dad and uncle Oleg were gone for too long, I felt really scared. Then some strange things began to happen – a military man ran towards our house. Then a military vehicle went there. I was delighted when Aunt Larissa and Julia appeared on the horizon, but they cried and yelled: “Somebody must take them to the hospital!” She couldn’t go herself because she had a little daughter at home and couldn’t leave her alone. Nobody explained anything to me, but I realized that Dad was badly wounded and I could only guess whether he was still alive…”

Fortunately, Dmitry survived, although his multiple injuries were incompatible with life. Dmitry was taken to Kurakhove hospital where he almost died due to developing meningitis. Trying to save him from imminent death, the local doctors transported him to  another hospital in Krasny Liman town where he had a surgery. 20 percent of the inflamed brain and part of the skull were removed and Dmitry started his long process of recovery. Since then, Dmitry lived without a large part of the skull.  Every time he had to leave home or take public transportation there was a threat to his life because even a smallest blow could be fatal for him.

Dmitry needed an urgent operation to install a protective plate instead of the removed part of the skull. Sadly, the man who could not work due to his injury, could not afford for the needed surgery.

Dmitry lost the ability to live a full life, but not the will to win. After all, in spite of the fact that his wife left him, in spite of his serious wound and his destroyed house, he continued to care for  his son as much as he could. The only person who cared for Dmitry himself was his relative and faithful friend Olga Manoyenko. She was the one who called CBN-Emmanuel to request help for Dmitry. After a while, they received a positive reply from CBN-Emmanuel saying the Dmitry will receive the needed treatment.

From January 9 to January 22, 2019, Dmitry underwent treatment in the regional trauma department of Lyman, where a protective plate was installed into his skull. CBN-Emmanuel paid for the surgery, medicines and the protective plate.

Thanks to this, Dmitry will be able to live a normal life without being afraid of additional injuries or death. “Finally, I am at home with my son,” Dmitry told us on the phone. The scariest thought for me has always been that I would never see my son Danick again! Before my injury, we used to be together all the time – fishing, cycling and going to the sea side… And now, after six months of hospitals, I’m finally with my son! It’s obvious that I won’t be able to work at the mine any more. I am only allowed to work in seated position and I have no idea where I will be able to find a job like this… I spent my whole life in the mine and no one needs a disabled person there. But I hope I will see more opportunities when spring comes. In the meantime, it’s winter and I need to rest a lot after the surgery so that the plate grows evenly into the skull. I will try to spend more time with my son and we will wait for the spring when we will be able to ride bicycles again!”