(Lusa Tshibangu/Instagram)

A man living in Port Alice was killed in action last week in the war between Ukraine and Russia. 

Grygorii Tsekhmistrenko, whose friends called him Greg, was killed near Bakhmut, which is considered one of the hotspots to be fighting in Ukraine’s warzone. 

He was a volunteer medic who had previously offered himself to the cause during the Crimea crisis in 2014. When Tsekhmistrenko felt there would be another invasion of his homeland in December 2021 he answered the call once again.

The 28-year-old Ukrainian/Canadian died on January 15th according to his friend and brother-in-arms, Adam Art.

“Many times, when I thought I was going to die, I would look over at Greg, who was still trying to keep our spirits up in the face of overwhelming odds,” wrote Art on Facebook, remembering his friend. 

“The world did not deserve him. He was truly one of the best people I have ever met. I always knew there was a chance some of us wouldn’t make it, but I always prayed it wouldn’t be him.”

His good friend, Lusa Tshibangu, also turned to social media to share her love for Tsekhmistrenko as well as her sorrow that he is gone.

“This war is unnecessary,” wrote Tshibangu. “Back in December 2021, he told me that he was going to Ukraine because of the possible invasion.” 

“I was so so so upset and made sure he knew. I also understood why he went back. He loved his country so much.”

According to Reuters, an estimated 42,295 people have died in the war between Ukraine and Russia. Tsekhmistrenko is sadly now one of those statistics.

Approximately 14 million people have been displaced, 15,000 have gone missing and there have been over 54,000 non-fatal injuries in the strife. 

Tsekhmistrenko’s brothers-in-arms have started a fundraiser on his behalf following his death. Donations can be made here in order to aid his fellow soldiers who were wounded in the conflict and to help get Tsekhmistrenko’s body home to his family.

The war in Ukraine has been going on since February 24th, 2022 when Russia first invaded the country. 

Vancouver Island hosts more than 700 Ukrainian refugees and according to the Globe and Mail, as of June 2022, there were over 600 Canadian volunteer fighters aiding them in fighting back the Russian invaders.

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