“The seriously wounded man began to read to Stus, ‘How good it is that I am not afraid of death,’ and this gave me peace and confidence,” — freed medic Marina Golinko

Another large-scale prisoner exchange took place in October. 108 women were freed from slavery, including doctor – senior lieutenant of the 36th brigade Marina Golinko, who in Mariupol not only saved the lives of fellow citizens, but also participated in the evacuation of the wounded. The girl still cannot believe that half a year of hell in captivity is over and she was finally able to hug her parents and sister in her native Kropivna in the Cherkasy region. And celebrated her 29th birthday with her family, wishing herself such a dreamy wish – a win…

“The scariest thing was getting out of the bunker, then the adrenaline, I had no fear”

“I started a full-scale war in Mariupol.” Our servicemen helped civilians in the search for bunkers, brought food, water, This is what Marina Golinko told “FACTS”. — In the bomb shelter, I and my colleagues, including the head of the medical service Vladimir Labuzov and sergeant of the medical service Alexander Nagovitsyn, created a medical room. Every day we got into a jeep, drove to the “three hundred” and provided help according to all stages of tactical medicine – we stopped bleeding, performed venous transfusions, inserted catheters… Fortunately, no one died in our car, everyone was transported. But there is much to remember…

I remember how Volodymyr Labuzov gave me a walkie-talkie just ten minutes ago, and as fate would have it, it was immediately a challenge. The scariest thing was getting out of the bunker, then the adrenaline, I didn’t feel fear. My driver was wearing glasses because half the windshield was missing on his side. I drove in silence. In her head, she ran through the injury options and the aid algorithm accordingly. It had already been a month of full scale war and I still wasn’t used to the “arrivals”.

They arrived. And it’s difficult there, and I’m not talking about the state. The building is completely destroyed, and the soldier lies high, as if he flew there separately. And here it is again on the radio – air threat. It sped us up, the roar of the fighter adding to the adrenaline. The boys, faithful brothers, helped carry the wounded. We moved quickly, provided medical assistance, examination, everything was on the way. We managed to get him out. This heavy man was called “Sparrow”. Such a small, good, 100-kilogram “Sparrow”, very successfully catapulted onto the building and remained alive. So it was very important to identify yourself correctly.

On her birthday, which Marina celebrated with her family, she made her deepest wish – victory over the enemy

— There was another moment in April, when after an unsuccessful “breakthrough” we found two wounded, — Marina remembers. – The first casualty was our colleague, a medic, with a shrapnel penetrating wound to the elbow socket. The second wounded man, whose name I do not yet know, had a penetrating shrapnel wound in the chest area. Therefore, we suspected a hemothorax – an accumulation of blood in the pleural cavity. Vladimir Labuzov installed an improvised drainage along Bulau. Coagulants were introduced and continuous infusion therapy was administered, but bleeding continued. And we were cut off from the surgeons for a few days.

Just at that time there was terror in the street, the Russians fired with everything they had: artillery, tanks, aerial bombs, rockets. Our walls still held. When I came to our “three hundredth” again, he was heavy, but the saturation (oxygen level in the blood) was maintained, he said he was better. We talked about the future. However, adequately assessing the situation, his condition, I thought he would die. And he thought so. But suddenly he began to read Vasil Stus’s poem “How good that I am not afraid of death.” And so calmly, confidently. He was not afraid. Realizing that there is nothing to fear. Let the enemy be afraid. And we are on our land. We are for the will of our loved ones. Holding back tears, we said goodbye. Then this person gave me peace of mind and confidence. He survived and I would love to meet him…

“I wrote to my mother, if I die, not to look for my body because it doesn’t matter”

I know that there were no communications in the bunkers of the Ilyich plant. How did you deal with it?

— Since March 6, there was no communication anywhere and no operator picked up. In the bunker, such simple human needs as bathing are fantastic. But we had such a chance. Maryana Mamonova and I also went there. I went outside for the first time after those explosions. A terrible sight. A large hole in the house on the second floor. All the other houses were also demolished. It wasn’t until we entered the building where the bathing machine was that we went on the air on the walkie-talkie. Let’s hide quickly. Gunshots were heard everywhere.

However, we got to the bathing machine, and the water is cold. But there is also a tail.

The “air” signal is given again. Maryana grabbed the bowls from the car, told her to bend down and quickly run after her. It was so scary that the slippers!.. I imagine this picture. Two female doctors in armored vests and helmets with bowls were running as if on a cross-country course.

We bathed in bowls. But safe. Then the girls went to wash in this bathroom machine and I was scared.

Sometimes we even had soup for dinner, which was prepared by my brother Vlad. The soup was with rice. I never thought I would enjoy such simple things. The next time the bathroom was in captivity. Only the water is always cold.

After being released from captivity, Marina immediately called her mother and sister

– How did you get captured?

– We were going for a breakthrough and until the last we hoped that we would be saved. Now I understand that there was simply no chance to get us out of there, because the hoop of the occupiers was very large and there was no way to break through. The option of capture is not considered at all, it is better to die then. At one point, emotions failed, it felt like everything…

I once wrote to my mother that if I die, not to look for my body because it doesn’t matter.

When we were captured, the occupiers took our power banks, flashlights, tourniquets, first aid kits, even my stethoscope, which surprised me greatly. The first days they kept us in Olenivka, where at least they gave us the opportunity to sleep. Then they were all taken to Taganrog, Russia.

— What did you experience during that time and what motivates you not to break morally?

– The first week in captivity I cried – until lunch, then for some reason they let him go. The girls who were with me in the cell did not touch me, they were silent. Silence reigned in us. The question that bothered me the most was: for what?! Why is this attitude towards me? What did I do wrong? Doctors study for 8-9 years. They help people. Often sacrifices family, personal time, following the call of the soul. And here you are being taken away from your land where you have never killed even an insect. From the land where you fulfill your civic duty. They scratch, shout “legs wider, head down”, say “you’re a pitiful sight” and everything else…

Then came the realization that for nothing. Just. They do it because in this way they assert themselves. This happened because we were unlucky with neighbors who, after starting a war, did not follow any ethical rule. Later the tears dried up. I just lived day by day. In the evening she closed her eyes and hoped to live tomorrow. Survive at all costs to see the Ukrainian sunset.

“At one point I imagined that everything was a game, a mission and I had to complete it”

“The conditions in Taganrog were not very good…” Marina continues. — Two small pieces of bread were distributed throughout the day. They called me 3-4 times during the interrogation, but they spoke calmly and calmly. The officers of the investigative detention center behaved more aggressively. They wanted to question our political views, to find out if you are a so-called “Nazi” because you love your country. In practice, I did not speak with them because I need Russian and it is really difficult for me because I have always been in a Ukrainian environment. I chose the right tactic – I just nodded my head and at least they didn’t touch me.

But there was constant psychological pressure. We were told all the time that we were deserters, that Ukraine had abandoned us and they would never return us. Then we were moved to the colony in Valuiki, I worked as a seamstress in the colony. They sewed suits for the farmers. It had a certain positive role for us, because the time passed faster and we could walk down the street, see the trees, the sun… I never thought that I would learn to sew, and I had no experience before that, and my hands ” can’t stand’ it.

“Thoughts about my loved ones saved me in this hell,” says Marina

Here they started giving us toothpaste and toothbrushes, because in Taganrog we didn’t brush our teeth at all. During the summer we were given the opportunity to write a letter to our loved ones. Mine was in Ukrainian, but they forced me to rewrite it in Russian because they didn’t understand the content. In the letter, I asked my mother not to cry much, but to wait for me.

To be honest, morally, in this hell, I was saved by thoughts of my loved ones, I tried not to give vent to tears. At one point, I imagined that everything was a game, a mission, and I had to complete it… In difficult moments, I went through the process of making my favorite banana pancakes in my head. I wanted them so bad then.

“When you were released from captivity, you called your mother and sister.” What did they talk about and what do you plan to do next?

The first thing I asked was if they were all alive because there are soldiers in my family. Fortunately, everything is fine. I have some nuances with my health, but we will fix everything. I am so grateful to my body that I never got sick in this cold. At the first meeting with relatives, parents brought dumplings with cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt cheese. I cherish every moment spent with my family.

I want to forget this hell, but I can’t. I’m going back there every minute. Where my colleagues are Vladimir Labuzov and Alexander Nagovitsyn. I’m waiting for you. I’m waiting endlessly. I look forward to every doctor who is now sacrificing himself for the life and will of our country. I await every hero and heroine.

Read how relatives and friends worried and waited for Marina Golinko in the exclusive material “FACTS”.

Read also: “Instead of windows – an iron shield, the air barely penetrates. They drank water from the pond and it also blossomed…”: a freed combat medic on his experiences and separation from his daughter

Photos courtesy of Marina Golinko


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