Discover an anthology of stories showcasing
the resilience of Ukrainians during wartime,
each tale a testament to their courage,
determination, and unyielding spirit.

The stories presented on this page are provided in shortened form and partly anonymously. For further information and contact details of the individuals featured, should you wish to create material about them, please reach out to us.

Human resilience stories

Beauty Volunteers

Do people near the frontline need haircuts? Olha’s initiative, travels across near-frontline cities of Ukraine, providing free beauty services. Launched in April 2022, Olha recruited volunteers from beauty salons through social media. While near-frontline cities remain almost inhabitable, many people stay there. By offering them haircuts an

Military Chef

Vitalii, also known as Military Chef, makes pizza for soldiers in his mobile dove. The man, one of the world’s best pizzaiolo, designed it himself, dedicating 8 months to construct. Now, he feeds soldiers who undergo studies in Kyiv military bases and plans to travel to the front lines.

Organic buckwheat in craters

Woman-farmer Tetiana plants organic buckwheat in craters from Russia’s bombs. 30 hectares of her estate in the Chernihiv region was shelled constantly at the beginning of Russia’s full-scale war, but Tetiana remains positive. She’s also started collecting herbs and making tea for soldiers in the front. Her husband and co-owner of their buckwheat farm have been serving the Armed Forces of Ukraine for 2 years, and since then, the woman continued their business.

Russian planes as souvenirs

Wreckage of downed Russian planes ends up as souvenir keychains in Serhii’s hands. Volunteers sell them at auctions, and the money goes to help Ukrainian fighters. Once, Serhii was given the wreckage of a Russian Alligator Ka-52 helicopter shot down by the Ukrainian military. 30 keychains he made from these fragments were given as a gift to American congressmen. Having evacuated from Mariupol, Serhii opened a new workshop in Lviv, where he lives now.

Teenager volunteer from Kherson.

Kostiantyn, a 16-year-old schooler, started helping his neighbors when Kherson was under Russia’s occupation. He got the essentials from Zaporizhzhia volunteers and gave them to people in need. After the city’s liberation, Kostiantyn joined the local organization “Ecology Youth of Kherson Region.” When Russia destroyed the Kakhovka Dam and Kherson was flooded, the teenager helped at least 200 families who lost houses and their belongings. The teenager delivered them hygiene items, clothes, and linens.

From fashion clothes to adaptive essentials.

Rostyslav, a former serviceman, designs adaptive clothes for wounded soldiers. Before Russia’s full-scale war, the man owned a fashion design company, but after February 24, 2022, he redirected his business efforts. Now, his team is producing t-shirts and sweatpants with velcro; these clothes are a perfect fit for those soldiers who have broken or amputated limbs.

Ecology, environment and animals

Saving wildlife amid the war.

It took one sick lioness to turn a stable owner Nataliia into a founder of the Wildlife Rescue Center – and the all-out invasion to push her into hotbeds of war. Nataliia has already rescued over 400 wild animals, and keeps her rescue missions to the frontline, having only 3 minutes to save another animal. Traveling to where veterinarians refuse to come, Nataliia has learned to provide medical injections even to the biggest animals, and now provides care to them all the way to Poland.

Cost of dolphin lives.

Concussions, phosphorus burns, mass extermination – biologist Ivan is keeping record about the toll that the Russian aggression has on the Black Sea dolphins. The head of research department at the "Tuzlivski lymany" preservation area is tirelessly committing his decade-long experience to bring Russia to accountability for environmental crimes of world importance – be it mass extermination in quest for selecting combat dolphins or airstrike's deadly impact on bird stocks.

Rescuing without discrimination.

While the first explosions made millions Ukrainians evacuate, PhD in biology Maryna decided to do so with seven bears aboard – this is how many animals had found home at her ‘Bila Skelya’ rehabilitation center near Kyiv. After ordering cages from Poland, breaking through Russian occupation and traveling 20 hours to Germany non-stop, Maryna and her animals came back after de-occupation of Kyiv, and hosted 2 more animals from the war-affected regions.

Making water speak.

Eco-activist Iuliia chose to work in a bulletproof vest and helmet and risk her life in order to tell the truth about the Kakhovka Dam tragedy. Exploded in June 2023, it is considered to be the second worst in Europe after the 1986 accident at the Chornobyl NPP. However, the real scale of the tragedy is difficult to calculate because part of the affected territories are still under Russian occupation. Iuliia, with a team, is gathering water samples from different affected territories, some of them heavily shelled by the Russian Army. She aims to collect as much data as possible to provide the world with the full information and prove – that this tragedy affected not only Ukraine but Europe as well.

Rescuing animals from flood.

When the Kakhovka HPP was blown up, volunteer Julia rushed to the flooded territories to rescue trapped animals. Accompanied by a friend, Julia has joined forces with other enthusiasts to save hundreds of animals and provide each of them with a safe shelter. Over 30 rescued pets have eventually found new homes in Kyiv, where Julia is based - with one of the dogs ending up in her family.

Defending the smallest.

Love is definitely a verb for the Oleksandr. The full-scale invasion prompted Ukraine's biggest animal rights movement to complement its advocacy campaigns with big-scale rescue missions, which have evacuated over 3,000 animals out of the war zone, rebuilt 17 shelters, and distributed at least 874 tons of animal food..

Ensuring access to safe water.

The full-scale invasion deprived six million Ukrainians of unimpeded access to safe water, prompting an urban ecologist Anna to address this issue. Developing the system for public monitoring of water quality, Anna and her colleagues introduced accessible test systems that allow citizens to quickly assess the quality of water and conclude if it’s safe to use in emergency situations.

Creative Resilience:
Ukraine’s Wartime Businesses

Vyshyvanka for Her Majesty.

A student who resells traditional embroidery for extra cash can't make it big. It could be right for many, but not Andrii, who founded the best-known Ukrainian vyshyvanka brand at 19. Fourteen years later, his amateur online shop has blossomed into a leading producer of Ukrainian embroidered clothing designed with the advice of cult urologists and museum workers. And it's worth the effort – the all-out invasion further boosted Entodim's popularity as a fashion symbol of Ukraine, equally loved by President Zeleskyy and Queen Letizia of Spain.

Survival necessity turned into a successful start-up.

Kharkiv became the second home for Anastasiia who had fled the Russian occupation of Donbas in 2014. In 2022 the Russian army reached her again, razing the neighborhood in which Anastasiia was residing with her partner Kostiantyn Svyryduik. Trapped in a densely shelled area with destroyed utilities, the couple has turned to making candles for light and heat – and now they also bring joy to numerous buyers in the U.S., the U.K. and Japan.

Fleeing occupation, bringing opportunities.

The rapid Russian advancement of her native Kherson has found Larysa as a successful carpet-maker at the European-famous Vandra Rugs. It took her ten days to get out of the occupation zone with only ten employees and a ton of material – leaving the rest of the Ukrainian-Swedish enterprise to Russian marauders. Larysa has found a safe haven in the west of Ukraine, bringing new opportunities in return. Now, her business employs 12 local residents, provides carpet-making lessons to local youth, and offers investment opportunities to her new hometown, which now hosts the Swedish royal family’s favorite carpet brand.

Founding an organic chocolate brand from scratch.

For seven years, Yulia’s confectionery held the primacy in Kramatorsk until the big war brought bankruptcy to the business and destruction to the city. Finding a safe haven in the western part of the country, once a successful entrepreneur had to start her life from scratch, making her living as a pastry chef in a local restaurant and studying business management in free time. Only months later, Yulia launched a brand of handmade organic chocolate — and now her ‘Soyka’ bars are conquering customers’ hearts across Ukraine.

Documenting the war in honor of a fallen friend.

The tragic loss of the best friend can’t be anything other than devastation - but journalist Ivanna has drawn resolve out of her grief. After losing a friend — a drone operator Felix Kurtanich, — in combat, Ivanna has pledged to fulfill his lifelong dream of directing movies and founded a movie studio to honor Felix’s memory. Now the Felix.production is narrating the history of the war through the human-centered documentary with its first movie, ‘Felix’, dedicated to its namesake.

Rescuing lives under fire: how Ukrainian combat medics work

From Wall Street’s largest bank to the hottest frontline spots.

Viktoriia is a young Ukrainian who spent most of her life studying all across the globe. In 2022, she settled in NYC to work as a data analyst on Wall Street but had to postpone her brilliant career due to Russia’s war against her home country. Viktoriia’s mother, father, and sister joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and she first helped them raise money and buy necessary goods for the army. In winter 2022, Viktoriia got off the USA-Poland plane and crossed the border with Ukraine to join the forces herself. Now, she’s a medic serving in Bakhmut and previously in Avdiivka.

Left businesses and farms to rescue people.

Before the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine in 2014, Ihor had a prosperous farm in the Kyiv region. He became a soldier and took part in the first-ever clashes with the Russian and separatist armies in the East of Ukraine. In the past few years, Ihor got an education in medicine and psychology to work as a paramedic on the frontline and as a trauma psychiatrist in the rear. Now, the man trains Ukrainian veterans for the Invictus Sports Games.

A producer and media trainer in civil life and a chief paramedic at war.

Iryna was only 16 when she started going to the frontline as a volunteer. Later, she learned how to provide first aid and joined the Hospitaliers medic battalion. She is a volunteer medic, which means that she has no salary or military benefits. Between rotations, she works in the media field to earn some money and go back to the frontline again.

4 years in captivity but still on the frontline, rescuing soldiers.

Yevhen, combat medic of the Azov regiment, was captured by Russian forces twice. First in 2015, when he fought for the strategic village of Shirokino in Donetsk, then in 2022, when Russians besieged the Azovstal plant. Overall, Yevhen spent 4 years in Russia’s captivity and endured constant torture, but he never lost his patriotic spirit. At the Azovstal plant, the man rescued civilians and soldiers and claimed to know what happened to the Azovstal defenders in Olenivka.

Defend, rescue, teach – a man who went from volunteer to paramedic expert.

Oleksii was among the protesters at the Maidan Revolution but mobilized himself in the army when Russia attacked in 2014. He worked as a paramedic and rescued thousands of lives. In 2022, he evacuated over 1500 people from Chernihiv when the Russian army approached. Now, Oleksii is a coordinator of Zgraya, a paramedic initiative that saves lives on the frontline. He also combines teaching people the basics of military medicine and rescuing civilians in the hottest spots.

She's 23, and she's ready to rework the system.

Rina was 22 when she joined combat medics as a volunteer. That was the beginning of the full-scale war and a year since she had finished her bachelor's in biology. She first served in different spots at the frontline but got fed up with an imperfect system. Rina saw what should be changed and what she could do with that. After a while, she joined one of the most prestigious battalions – Azov – and started reforming the way things were. Slowly, the system of care, of receiving items and medicine, of bureaucracy started changing..

Culture amid war: how Ukrainians fight for their identity

The tours of the empty museum.

One of the best Ukrainian museums with the largest collection of art – Khanenko Museum in Kyiv – now has only traces of the fact that paintings once hung here on the walls. The whole collection is rather hidden or rented for exhibitions in top museums such as Louver. But for the museum's director, Yuliia, who started her work here just three months before the invasion, it doesn't mean that the museum has to be closed. She and her colleagues have organized tours of the empty building, telling the story about how it used to be before and how the war affected the museum.

Fighting the destruction of cultural heritage with the 3D scanner.

Andrii makes 3D scans of cultural buildings to protect them for the next generations. His team reconstructed digital copies of Mariupol Drama Theatre before and after the bombing. In 2021, they scanned the Shukhevych Museum, destroyed by a Russian missile early this year. With this digital copy of the museum, it’ll be easier to reconstruct it, says Andrii  also about the other cultural heritage his company digitally protected.

Despite the shelling, the exhibition will persist.

Oleksandra  works at the Odesa Fine Arts Museum, one of Ukraine's largest cultural institutions situated within a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On 6 October, the museum, commemorating its 124th anniversary, faced a missile strike launched by Russia. In response, her team swiftly secured the permanent collection, opting to expand the scope of contemporary exhibitions.

Heroes die, and we remember it.

According to PEN Ukraine, Russia killed 96 Ukrainian artists, writers, and actors. One of whom was Maksym “Daly” Kryvtsov, poet and photographer. Maksym died early this year at the front line. His poetry collection had just been published, he collected lots of photographs from the trenches. Maksym took part in the Dignity Revolution and was one of the first volunteers at the front in 2014, and stayed at the front line till the last. Kateryna, his friend, says he wanted to exhibit his photos; unfortunately, it was his last wish. After the funeral, on 22 January 2024, she opened an exhibition dedicated to Maksym. It has just ended but stands as one of the most crowded.

Saved from the fire to be exhibited across Europe.

Maria Prymachenko – was a famous Ukrainian artist admired by Picasso. Early in 2022, a Russian missile hit Maria Prymachenko Museum, setting fire. The workers immediately started evacuating the art pieces, but some burned in the fire. After this, Anastasiia – Maria's great-granddaughter arranged lots of exhibitions of rescued Prymachenko works in Ukraine and across Europe to testify to the crimes of the Russian war against Ukraine and its culture.

The sniper draws portraits of women at the front.

Armed Forces officer Olena created a gallery of portraits of military women who died defending Ukraine on her Facebook page. She used to be a journalist and drawing as a hobby, but in 2014 she joined the Armed Forces. Since then, she has drawn military women, like her, to commemorate their feats and to create a gallery of female defenders of Ukraine. Olena plans to publish all the portraits as a book.

She makes exhibitions in memory of her husband.

Denys was a naturalist photographer before the big war; his photos were featured in National Geographic. He also received the "Blue Ribbon" award from the International Federation of Photographic Art. Denys went to the Army and died trying to rescue his fellow soldiers in Bakhmut. His wife Halyna decided to show her husband's works in his memory and for the good. The woman initiated SYAO Foundation ("SYAO" was Denys's nickname) and organized several exhibitions and auctions of Denys' photos to raise money for the Army.

Preserving and collecting evidence.

Vasyl founded HeMo: Heritage Monitoring for Recovery to collect data on destroyed cultural heritage. They are a group of experts who collect up-to-date data on heritage, link it to the register of monuments and museums, place it in a database created according to international standards and an infrastructural approach, and make it available to society. HeMo is one of the few organizations preserving all possible data about the cultural heritage of Ukraine’s south, a very diverse region.

Companions on duty: Beloved pets of Ukrainians

A fluffy combat cat.

A branded bulletproof vest, a collection of embroidered outfits, and a personal manager – a soldier Oleksii can only dream about getting what his pet Shayba has for simply being a cat. Posting videos of an abandoned kitten found on a combat mission, Oleksii hoped to raise some money for his battalion but created a symbol of the Ukrainian Army instead. Today, Shayba’s dense schedule is filled with frequent appearances on TV and charitable events — to the huge delight of his 22,000 Instagram followers.

Animal therapy of national significance.

Having her husband killed in the 2014 protests against the pro-Russian president, Yiuliia has founded the ‘Heavenly Hundred Families’ charity to support fellow families and animal therapy became a cornerstone of its activity. In cooperation with a kinologist and fellow volunteer, Yiuliia introduced activities with dogs to rehabilitate children who have lost their parents in the protests – and over the years the program has expanded to rehabilitating war veterans, internally displaced people and civilian kids, affected by the war stress.

‘Cat’ rescuing cats.

Going to the frontlines in 2014, a successful manager Oleksii ‘Cat’ picked his callsign for incredible love toward cats. For the next 10 years, most of which he spent as an equally successful signalman and a popular blogger, Oleksii has proved his loyalty to animals by rescuing frontline pets and finding new homes for all homeless animals he came across at the duty stations.


Taking a position on the contact line, a border guard squad was ready to find anything but Murchyk. The white-and-gray cat had settled in a dugout before the soldiers and never forgot to remind who’s the boss in all possible feline ways – from sleeping in their sacks to training their reaction by unexpected jumps onto a machine gun. Murchyk keeps leading his border guardians with all necessary responsibilities, and he’s ready to comment on his achievements via Ukraine State Border Guard Service’s spokesman.

Ukrainians Behind Innovative
Drone Production

Svitlana Braslavska

Co-founder, COO, and CMO of Falcons, leads a pioneering company dedicated to the development of cutting-edge reconnaissance equipment. Falcons' flagship product is a sophisticated array of radio signal direction finders, currently deployed and effectively operational on the frontline, where it is utilized extensively by the Ukrainian military. Additionally, Falcons is diligently working on two more products in the research and development phase, poised to seamlessly complement our existing solutions.

Yevhen Rvachov

the Founder of SkyLab UA, has been leading the company since May 2022. SkyLab UA specializes in the production of a diverse range of military drones and robotic systems, among which the renowned Shoolika mk6, UGV SIRKO-S, and UGV Johnyy mk1 stand out. These state-of-the-art products serve multiple critical purposes, including reconnaissance, tactical strike operations, cargo transport, facilitating communication between military units, and facilitating the evacuation of wounded personnel.

Vasyl Tsapyuk

an inventor from Volyn, collaborates with engineers from various regions across Ukraine to develop numerous devices aimed at aiding Ukrainian soldiers on the frontline. Notably, they utilize 3D printers to manufacture quadcopters, among other innovations, which are immediately tested on the battlefield.


the coordinator overseeing the development of kamikaze drones. Presently, there are two distinct models available under his watch. The first model is a single-use kamikaze drone equipped with an explosive payload. It is designed to plummet beneath the tracks of enemy vehicles, detonating upon impact and effectively neutralizing the target. Additionally, it can detonate upon encountering clusters of infantry, ensuring strategic efficacy. The second model, a mine-laying drone, carries two mines and strategically deposits them along routes, landing zones, and other strategic locations. This method disrupts the movement of enemy vehicles, leading to their destruction upon encountering the mines. These two models are primarily produced upon request from private individuals or volunteers, as they are not classified as military equipment and are available for purchase by civilians without restriction. The production facilities are situated within the premises of a defense industry plant in Dnipro.Journalists are permitted access to the production facilities, enabling them to document the testing of kamikaze drones and the training of personnel in their operation.

Serhii Titkov

an inventor and developer of Kseonics Technology, created the DDSR1 drone detector. This innovative device is utilized by Ukrainian soldiers to detect enemy drones in real-time, enhancing situational awareness and bolstering defense capabilities.

Ukrainian women: resilience amid war

Bending iron with a manicure.

Maria has taken up the hammer to carry on her blacksmith husband's business while he serves on the frontline. Since 2019, the woman has been assisting her husband in setting up a blacksmith workshop. But when her husband departed to join the Ukrainian army in the summer of 2022, she attempted to melt metal on her own. Over nine months of dedicated effort, she mastered the craft of creating both small and large metal products. Maria began selling her creations to the local community.

Instead of mourning, she chose the army.

Yaryna lost both her boyfriend and father, who served in the Armed Forces during the war. To confront her grief and honor their memory, she resolved to enlist in the army and carry on the duty of defending Ukraine. Yaryna pursued this path by graduating from the National University of Defense, attaining the rank of officer, and undergoing specialized training as an operator of unmanned attack systems. Each day, she fulfills her duties with a deep sense of remembrance for her cherished father, Mykhailo, and beloved Ivan.

From tailored uniforms to custom-made weddings.

Kseniia founded the Zemliachki project in 2015 to cover the needs of women in the army and on the frontline. From 2022, help female soldiers by sending them custom-made military uniforms, light armor, helmets, and first-aid kits, as well as humanitarian aid tailored to women's needs. Over 6,000 individual requests from military women have been fulfilled, with 70% of them coming from battle zones. Kseniia Drahaniuk also initiated helping women in the army with weddings, with the Zemliachki taking all pre-wedding chores.

Making uniform equality for 42 thousand women in the Ukrainian army.

Olena, founder of the Veteranka initiative, is currently engaged in producing military uniforms for Ukrainian women in service. She notes that while an increasing number of women are joining the army, the issue of providing comfortable and varied clothing still needs to be addressed. Since its inception as a volunteer organization in 2015, the Veteranka initiative has been dedicated to supporting Ukrainian military women, and it has now expanded its efforts to include the production of uniforms. Olena firmly believes that by improving the comfort and suitability of uniforms for women in the army, more women will be encouraged to join the effort to defend Ukraine.

The closest to the enemy.

Olha leads the Nova Slodibka local community in the Sumy region, bordering Russia closely. When Russia launched its full-scale war, her community faced the enemy's tanks early on and was swiftly occupied. Olha and her colleagues were initially stunned, unsure of their next steps for three days. But on the third day of the invasion, Olha took charge, organizing food deliveries to local villages. She quickly mobilized people, creating a network to support each other. With this help, she facilitated the safe passage of many locals to Ukrainian-controlled territory.

Sewing comfort.

Olha from Irpin is known for her charitable work sewing custom clothing with Velcro for injured soldiers. She often transforms donated garments into more comfortable attire, spending approximately thirty minutes on each T-shirt. Additionally, Olga crafts underwear and headwear to further support the soldiers' needs. The woman is ready to tell about her craftsmanship and the reasons for it.

Full-time volunteer and mother.

Kateryna is a volunteer and the head of a public organization that helps support the military, Voin. UA. At the beginning of Russia’s full-scale war, she sent her daughter to stay with relatives in Italy. Then, she returned to Ukraine to curate a big volunteer organization helping soldiers 24/7. In August 2023, one and a half years later, Kateryna took her daughter back to Ukraine as she couldn’t endure the distance any longer. Now, they together visit wounded soldiers in the hospitals to cheer them up and fulfill their needs for rehabilitation.

The life after battlefield: programs for Ukrainian veterans

Lawyer turned soldier turned change-maker.

The military service has not simply changed the life of the successful lawyer Masi – but also his life mission. Having experienced bureaucratic challenges that accompanied his service and rehabilitation after severe injury, Masi launched the ‘Pryncyp’ NGO. The project, which started as an attempt to simplify veterans’ access to governmental services, has now grown into an ambitious effort to digitize procedures involving servicemen from the healthcare system and provide fair and high-quality justice services for the military.

Taking care of the carers.

Lack of mental treatment in favor of physical rehabilitation could be Ukraine’s plight without people like Maryna, the founder of the ‘Repower’ non-profit. She committed to preserving the mental health of combat medics, whose own mental needs often remain overlooked in their quest to keep every serviceman. Only in January, Maryna’s efforts made a difference for hundreds of medical specialists from 56 units from across the contact line, providing them with rehabilitation and the opportunity to share their professional expertise in Sweden.

Reviving health and hope.

Tеtiana  leads two initiatives to reclaim veterans' health – but the results of the "Revived Soldiers Ukraine" charity and the NextStep Ukraine rehabilitation center's combined efforts are worth her hard work. Having succeeded in attracting international donors, Tetiana has already raised $6.8 million to provide high-quality free prosthetics in the US and rehabilitation at the NextStep Ukraine rehabilitation center.

Fighting against disability.

The risk of having 100,000 people disabled due to the full-scale invasion prompted Serhii to develop the innovative ‘Save the limb’ program within the US-sponsored charity “Health of Ukrainian People” that he leads. Aiming to provide high-quality service for 15,000 patients, the program performed over 1,000 limb-saving surgeries and applied over 3,000 external fixation devices in just the first year.

Innovative rehabilitation.

Physiologist Arkadii founded Kharkiv's first center, which provides non-surgical treatment of hernias and joints. Today, his Rubinko Rehabilitation Center has become not only the most innovative medical center in the region but also one of the leading rehabilitation facilities, providing free treatment of this class for servicemen.

Hand-made drones by civilians

Self-designed land drones.

Demining, reconnaissance, ammunition deliveries – here are some of the functions carried out by Yevhen’s unique land drones. Having graduated from an orphanage at 18, Yevhen immediately mobilized himself to the Ukrainian army. Now, he uses his combat experience to produce self-designed armored drones with remote control. Each drone costs as little as $800, which doesn’t make them any worse at saving Ukrainian soldiers and destroying costly enemy equipment.

Teenage drone engineer.

Unlike many of his peers, 16-year-old Radomyr used his summer vacations to earn money for his first self-made drone and learn drone assembly from open internet sources. Learning the importance of FPVs from his father, who has been fighting Russia since the first days of the Russian invasion, Radomyr has assembled more than 80 drones in three months – and even moved closer to the military positions to learn more about the needs of the military drone pilots.

Jeweler-tuned-drone maker.

Violetta used to work with jewelry for most of her life – until the big war replaced gems in her arms with deadly devices. Sending her father and two brothers on the frontline, Violetta learnt to assemble FPV drones for reconnaissance and combat – and has supplied the Ukrainian army with 23 drones since last fall.

3D Printing Army.

Artillery casings, Starkink details, and remote controls for drones – Ievhen, who had started 3D printing during COVID, couldn’t imagine his hobby turning into the Printing Army in a few years. During the full-scale invasion, Ievhen brought together 1,700 enthusiasts whose 3D printers are now supplying thousands of Ukrainian soldiers with free plastic devices, many of which are unavailable anywhere else. In addition to coordinating the work of 2,000 3D printers and their owners, Ievhen has launched a free training course for all volunteers who wish to help the army with their printing skills.

School teacher printing drones.

An IT teacher in a private school, Artur, got the better of the 3D printing skills he was teaching his students. Aware of the high demand for FPV drones, in November 2023, Artur convinced the college authorities to purchase a serial 3D printer to produce deficit details on his own. Since then, Artur and his students have purchased two more printers and supplied the Ukrainian Army with thousands of free drone components and uniquely customized items based on soldiers’ requests.

The people’s army of drones.

The importance of drones inspired programmer Oleksii to co-found the KazhanFly school, which provides free drone flying education to Ukrainian soldiers. In September 2023, Oleksii and his partners scaled up by launching the Social Drone initiative, which offers free lessons in drone assembly to all volunteers. Hoping to boost Ukraine’s drone manufacturing, the Social Drone has already created a decentralized network of over 3,000 qualified engineers, who are supplying the Ukrainian army with record cheap self-made devices.

10 years of Crimea occupation: witnesses testimony

Prisoner of consciousness, icon of resistance.

The first protests against Russia's occupation of Crimea began on February 26, 2014, and he was the first to be detained. Akhtem is a Crimean Tatar politician, deputy chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, and former political prisoner of the Russian occupation authorities. At the first protests in 2014, 52-year-old Akhtem was sentenced to 3 years in prison and then to 8 more. In 2017, the man was released from illegal imprisonment due to the media attention and handed over to Turkey. Aktem's family remains in Crimea under pressure, but he continues his political efforts to bring justice to the Peninsula.

Protester, law-maker, soldier.

For human rights activist Serhii, the active participation in the 2014 Revolution of Dignity turned into active resistance to the following occupation of Crimea. After Russian invaders attacked Serhii’s family for organizing peaceful protests against the occupation, he left the peninsula and kept fighting as the head of the Kyiv-based Regional Center for Human Rights. After building a successful career as a high-profile official in Ukraine’s Ministry for Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories and as a prosecutor of corruption offenses, Serhii joined the army with a commitment to liberate Crimea and his parents, trapped in the occupation.

From tortured protester to human right defender.

While the Russian tanks were rolling across Crimea, Andrii wasn’t afraid to speak up against the occupation and unite hundreds of like-minded residents in mass protests. Only a week after organizing the first peaceful rally, Andrii was kidnapped and tortured in captivity for 11 days. After the release, Andrii moved to Kyiv and kept fighting against the Russian occupation as a human rights activist of the Regional Council of Ukrainians in Crimea and a coordinator at the Euromaidan-Crimea civil movement.

From business to lawmaking through occupation.

The successful businessman Serhii met the Russian invasion, co-organizing rallies against the occupation despite threats and attacks on his property. After Russian proxies kidnapped Serhii's father and announced a reward for his head, Serhii fled, leaving behind his business but not his principles. Having moved to Kyiv, he kept leading the Euromaidan-Crimea human rights initiative and advocated the adoption of a landmark national strategy for the reintegration of occupied territories.

From avid resistance to active volunteering.

As a public advocate of Ukrainian culture in Crimea since his teenagehood, Oleksii couldn't betray it during the Russian occupation. As the Russian troops were advancing in the depths of Crimea, Oleksii was actively organizing pro-Ukrainian rallies, where he had been beaten and unlawfully detained by the Russian security services for numerous interrogations. After spending a year in the occupied peninsula under persecution, Oleksii left Crimea and eventually settled down in Kyiv, where he launched a restaurant business and kept supporting the Ukrainian army.

From threatened law professor to human rights icon.

Olha faced the annexation of Crimea as a successful law professor and co-founder of Crimea's first human rights initiative. After Russia occupied the region, Olha started receiving threats for collecting evidence of Russian military presence, which forced her to leave the peninsula urgently. The forced exile has strengthened Olha's commitment to fight the occupation and establish the Crimean Human Rights Group in 2015. Since then, her leadership has turned a grassroots initiative into the largest Crimea-related human rights organization, awarded by the prestigious Global Human Rights Tulip for reporting Russian violations.

Keeping football traditions in occupation.

Before the Russian annexation, Oleh was a vice president of the Crimea Football Association, after – an internally displaced person who lost his home but not his commitment to reviving his football club. Evacuation from Crimea marked a new page not only in Oleh's life but in the entire history of the Tavria FC – the first champion of independent Ukraine, suddenly turned outcast by the occupation. Despite all challenges, Oleh managed to relocate the club to Kherson and maintain its activity until the 2022 Russian invasion caught up again.

Mariupol stories

She saw him on Russian TV and did everything to return him.

Olena is a grandmother of an 8-year-old Illia, who lost his parents in Mariupol. The elderly woman lived in another city and lost connection to her family when Russian soldiers sieged Mariupol. After a couple of months, Olena saw a Russian TV with her grandson, Illia, who was used in a propagandist show about Russian soldiers rescuing Ukrainian children." In fact, 8-year-old Illia was deported to Russia after Russian soldiers killed his parents. After seeing the show, Olena decided to return her grandson. It took several months and lots of effort, but Olena managed to take Illia out of Russia. The boy says Russian soldiers gave him a drone as a gift, but he granted it to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

With newborns in sieged Mariupol.

On 23 January 2022, Kateryna gave birth to twins, Alisa and Alina, both born prematurely. They were delivered at the Mariupol maternity hospital, with plans to discharge them home on 24 February. However, the outbreak of war disrupted their plans, leaving the mother and her newborns stranded in the hospital. Two weeks later, Russian troops launched an airstrike on the hospital. It is only now that Kateryna can recount her harrowing tale of survival: how she endured the explosion, wandered through the bombed-out city for months with her infants, and eventually found refuge with her parents in the occupied territory before escaping to the Ukraine-controlled territory.

She rescued people, but she couldn’t keep them all away from death.

Olena was a nurse in the intensive care unit at the Mariupol Regional Hospital. When Russian forces started heavily bombing and sieging the city, she was one of those who saved people. Mstyslav Chernov filmed Olena in 20 Days in Mariupol, when she’s crying over 4-year-old Yevanhelina, who just died in her hand. Olena and her family, husband and two little granddaughters, lived in the Mariupol Regional Hospital in the first months of the full-scale invasion. When Russians occupied the city completely, they proposed to her to collaborate, but she refused.

Surviving the besieged city in the basement.

Olena, founder of the Veteranka initiative, is currently engaged in producing military uniforms for Ukrainian women in service. She notes that while an increasing number of women are joining the army, the issue of providing comfortable and varied clothing still needs to be addressed. Since its inception as a volunteer organization in 2015, the Veteranka initiative has been dedicated to supporting Ukrainian military women, and it has now expanded its efforts to include the production of uniforms. Olena firmly believes that by improving the comfort and suitability of uniforms for women in the army, more women will be encouraged to join the effort to defend Ukraine.

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