Ukraine

Ukrainian Army Captain, Paralyzed From Battle in 2015, Wishes He Could Join the Fight Back Home

Dima Medved was left paralyzed, and in 2017 a nonprofit called Revived Soldiers Ukraine brought him to Southern California for physical therapy.

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A Ukrainian army captain who was wounded fighting the Russians in 2015 is now living in Long Beach, undergoing physical therapy for his injuries.

Dima Medved, 39, is frustrated watching the fighting taking place in Ukraine. He was a captain in the Ukrainian army seven years ago when Russia invaded eastern Ukraine.

He says, in his experience, Russian soldiers follow no rules, and are relentless.

"So you know the first wave is coming, first wave is down, next one 15 minutes, and next one, and next one. It's just crazy," he said.

While fighting in Luhansk in 2015, Medved's military vehicle came under fire.

"I hear shooting, shooting everywhere," he said.

He was shot in the spine while reloading his weapon.

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"The enemy was destroyed, but I was wounded."

He was left paralyzed, and in 2017 a nonprofit called Revived Soldiers Ukraine brought him to Southern California for physical therapy.

"Right now I'm little bit feeling my legs, but can't use my legs OK."

He says he wakes up every two hours to text his friends back home, wishing he could join the fight because some of his army friends have been wounded or killed over the past two weeks.

"OK, it's a little bit hard for me."

He goes silent for a moment thinking of his friends battling without him. He pauses to compose himself before finding these words about the harsh reality of war.

"Yeah, war is war," he said. "People die. Soldiers die."

He says since the port city of Odessa is now being threatened, many international shipments are on hold.

"Each week we can send 40 containers."

He is the manager of an export business in Gardena. They ship used and damaged vehicles to Ukraine where they're repaired and sold to Ukrainians. He says for now he'll reroute shipments to neighboring countries.

He'd like to see western leaders do more to secure the air space above Ukraine, but he has faith in the Ukrainian military and the civilians who have now joined the fight.

"It's our country, our friends, our families, our land. We never give it to you, never ever."

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