Stas Stovban continues to serve in the army despite leg amputation
The area near Horlivka in Donetsk region is one of the hardest-hit zones, constantly shelled by Russian-backed separatist forces.
This is also where the Ukrainian army positions are located. And this is where we find Stas Stovban. This at-first-glance ordinary soldier is a legend among his peers.
He is an example to follow, despite anything he protects his country and doesn't look for any excuses.
But Stovban actually had an excuse. This young man was among the Ukrainian troops defending the Donetsk airport - during the last week of the battle. He was severely injured when the terminal was blown up by the Russian-backed militants.
Stas Stovban, Ukrainian soldier: "They dragged me out of the rubble, I remember I wanted to shoot back at the separatist, I lost consciousness, I think I bled through the whole night."
Stas Stovban was taken hostage by the enemy. Although he was eventually freed during an exchange brokered by the Ukrainian government, the soldier doesn't like to talk much about those days. His leg was amputated while he was in the custody of the Russian-backed separatists but Stas says he got lucky that they didn't cut both legs off.
Stas Stovban, Ukrainian soldier: "Both my legs were injured at the airport, one was amputated in captivity, honestly it's a sin to complain 'cause they were going to cut both legs off but didn't."
Stas got fitted with a prosthetic in the hospital and in just a month ad a half he came back to the frontlines. He assures that it is no reason not to continue with his military career. His mother though doesn't support his decision to return to the front.
Mrs. Stovban, Soldier's mother: "I never thought that he would become a soldier.. but when he was held hostage and was allowed to phone us, I remember he said that if he returns home, he will eventually return to the army."
Stas though, says a career in the army was always his dream, this is where he found himself and he isn't willing to give up now.