January 29, 2023
Infantrymen cling medals and a painting of Valeriy Gudz, a Ukrainian colonel killed in fight, all the way through the commemoration rite in Boryspil on March 15, 2022.

BORYSPIL, KYIV OBLAST – A couple of hundred other folks accrued in a town memorial park to mention their final goodbyes to an impressive fight commander, colonel Valeriy Gudz, who have been killed in a fight close to Russian-occupied Luhansk on March 12.

Gudz, 51, had defended Ukraine from Russia’s military because the early days of warfare in 2014. He grew from a platoon chief to a brigade commander. He freed his squaddies from captivity and rescued them in fight. For his heroic deeds he gained a handful of medals.

“He was once very courageous. He all the time in my view checked the entire frontline positions regardless of his prime rank,” mentioned Natalya Sychova, a chum and a volunteer. 

“He took care of his squaddies, was once like father to them,” she went on.

His comrades-in-arms held the farewell rite on March 15 to the sounds of shell explosions. Boryspil, Gudz’s native land, is 30 kilometers west of the positions of Russian forces which have been shifting towards Kyiv. 

As Russian squaddies attempt to besiege Ukraine’s capital, Gudz’s process was once to push them out from the rustic’s east, one thing he proved to be just right at all the way through 8 years of warfare. 

Pals and associates kneel in commemoration of Valeriy Gudz all the way through a remembrance rite in Boryspil on March 15, 2022. (Anna Myroniuk)
A fellow soldier kisses the coffin of Valeriy Gudz all the way through remembrance rite in Boryspil on March 15, 2022. (Anna Myroniuk)

The final fight 

When Russia declared its full-scale warfare towards Ukraine on Feb. 24, Gudz was once on a scheduled coaching for army commanders. He instantly dropped it and returned to the frontline. 

Two days later he was once killed. 

“He died in his first combat,” mentioned Olena Mokrenchuk, a chum of the Gudz circle of relatives and a press officer of Ukraine’s Armed Forces. 

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However the warfare in Donbas had escalated and Gudz was once wanted there. 

“The location was once very severe. There was once a risk of encirclement of our primary forces, and it was once important to habits an operation to forestall it,” she mentioned, “that’s why he was once despatched there. His abilities and his wisdom have been necessary.”

The fight happened close to Popasna, a town 100 kilometers to the west of Russian-occupied Luhansk. Gudz knew each the positions and the folk nicely, Mokrenchuk mentioned, as he had served there as a commander of the twenty fourth Mechanized Brigade earlier than he left for coaching.

“This actually presentations his personality. He didn’t arrive and get started unpacking, making himself relaxed in a brand new chair. As a substitute, he went directly right into a combat,” she mentioned. 

A ‘father’ to his squaddies

Within the 2000s Gudz retired to order after serving within the military for 10 years.

He then turned into a instructor of pre-service coaching for younger males. 

Amongst his scholars was once Vyacheslav Pecheniuk, a former soldier and now a member of the territorial protection drive.

“He confirmed me boxing, I did it for 3 years. He repeatedly attempted to stay me subsequent to him, so I didn’t get into hassle,” Pecheniuk mentioned.

“He was once a job style and any person I used to be pleased with,” he added. 

In 2014, Pecheniuk joined the Ukrainian military like Gudz. He served at the frontline for three hundred and sixty five days. After a damage he determined to go back and signed up for Gudz’s brigade. 

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“And right here once more he was once retaining me subsequent to him. Didn’t let me sign up for the intelligence unit,” he mentioned, including that Gudz was once fearful for his protection.

In combination they served in Avdiivka, a hotspot within the warfare in Donetsk Oblast. For a while Pecheniuk was once Gudz’s motive force.

“A humorous factor. Each and every time I used to be riding him someplace he was once studying a ebook. He was once well-read, sensible,” he mentioned.

Gudz’s nickname was once “79,” the selection of the primary brigade he served in, however squaddies say everybody known as him via his patronymic, Fedorovych, in an excessively fatherly manner. 

Infantrymen raise the coffin of Valeriy Gudz, a Ukrainian colonel killed in fight, all the way through the commemoration rite in Boryspil on March 15, 2022. (Anna Myroniuk)
Infantrymen cling the Ukrainian flag over the coffin of Valeriy Gudz all the way through a remembrance rite in Boryspil on March 15, 2022. (Anna Myroniuk)

A hero of town

“Heroes don’t die,” mentioned the abbot of St. Nicholas Church, Father Nicholas, who held the rite.

“Alternatively, nobody is born a hero. You’ll be able to develop into one,” he went on. 

Gudz was once a hero, he mentioned, as a result of he defended the rustic and town and earned other folks’s recognize. 

He’s buried in Knishov Memorial Park subsequent to different heroes of Ukraine together with the staff of an plane downed via Russia in Slovyansk in June 2014.

“Because of other folks like him we handiest felt what warfare is actually like 20 days in the past. Previous to that, he guarded our peace and defended our quiet sky together with over Boryspil,” mentioned town mayor Volodymyr Borysenko.

“We will be able to by no means disregard and not forgive,” he mentioned.

Males throw soil at the coffin of colonel Valeriy Gudz in a memorial park in Boryspil on March 15, 2022. (Anna Myroniuk)