AP

‘These people must be saved’: Ukrainians train in combat aid

Jul 11, 2022, 8:13 PM | Updated: Jul 12, 2022, 9:05 am

Instructor Ilona Khomenko looks on during a first aid training to master the MARCH algorithm accord...

Instructor Ilona Khomenko looks on during a first aid training to master the MARCH algorithm according to the NATO protocol, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, July 11, 2022. Khomenko’s life changed on May 23, when her husband died fighting the near Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine. Now she keeps him close by helping to train soldiers and civilians how to survive on the battlefield. (AP Photo/Vasilisa Stepanenko)

(AP Photo/Vasilisa Stepanenko)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ilona Khomenko was widowed nearly two months ago when her husband died in fighting in Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine. Now, she’s looking to make a difference on the battlefield.

Khomenko is helping to train soldiers and civilians in combat first aid to help save lives as Russia’s war in Ukraine is well into its fifth month. And she hopes to go to the front line herself one day.

The training is mostly based in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. Up to 100 people attend each day. So far, Khomenko and others have taught more than 5,000 people simple rules that can save their lives.

One of those attending the course is soldier Liudmyla Rohacheva.

“I am currently working in the rear, but there is a possibility that I will get to the front line. And I think that all soldiers should undergo such training,” Rohacheva said during a break between sessions.

The attendees learn to provide sequential care under the MARCH acronym for easy recall: M for massive hemorrhage, A for airway, R for respiratory, C for circulation and H for hypothermia.

“The units we trained have wounded, but they survive. And those units that didn’t undergo training have a much worse ratio of wounded and survivors,” said Oleksandr Khyzhniak, the head of the training center.

The center teaches, for example, how to apply a tourniquet in 25 seconds. Such an action can save a life.

“The machines will not fight alone. We need people to manage it. And these people must be saved,” Khizhnyak said.

The training mimics front-line conditions. At one location, an instructor frantically shouts into a trench: “A sniper is working in the sector. Drag them to safety! Do you want to live?”

It’s a way to immerse trainees in stressful situations that shouldn’t stop them from acting when needed.

Natalia Demchevska, a doctor in the emergency service in the Kyiv region, said she came to the training to learn how to provide first aid in combat conditions. She said she learned many things she didn’t know before, even though she works in medicine.

The center also encourages civilians to get training.

“We live in a war. And we do not know how the circumstances will develop. When a missile comes, it doesn’t choose who to hit,” instructor Maksym Maksymenko said.

On May 23, Khomenko’s husband, Svyatoslav Khomenko, died in fighting. Like many in Ukraine, he left his job and went to war.

Her husband used to send her photos of nature from the front line.

“He went to war because he wanted to save what he loved so much,” Ilona Khomenko said.

Now, in her own way, she hopes to save what she loves too.

She said she had always wanted to go to the front to be closer to her husband. But he was against it, so she enrolled in combat medic courses. Now she’s a volunteer and plans to become an instructor.

If Khomenko could go back in time, she said she would have studied medicine. She realized this while preparing the first-aid kit for her husband at the front.

Despite her grief, she is grateful to fate that she can now help save the lives of other soldiers.

“The best people of Ukraine are in the war. And I want to learn everything that will help me save them,” she said.

___

Follow AP’s coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Image: Members of the Makah Indian tribe paddle away from the rising sun as they head from Neah Bay...

Associated Press

Washington’s Makah Tribe clears major hurdle toward resuming traditional whale hunts

The U.S. granted the Makah Indian Tribe a long-sought waiver that helps clear the way for its first sanctioned whale hunts since 1999.

1 day ago

jerry west...

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Jerry West, a 3-time Hall of Fame selection and the NBA logo, dies at 86

Jerry West, a three-time Basketball Hall of Fame inductee whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning.

2 days ago

Photo: Construction vehicles are parked outside of the Station U & O building on Tuesday, June 11, ...

Haleluya Hadero, The Associated Press

Amazon adds $1.4B to affordable housing fund for regions where it has corporate offices

Amazon is adding $1.4B to a fund for building more affordable housing in regions where the company has major corporate offices.

3 days ago

hunter biden...

Randall Chase and the Associated Press

Hunter Biden convicted of all 3 felony charges in federal gun trial

Hunter Biden has been convicted of all three felony charges related to the purchase of a revolver in 2018, but no sentencing date was set.

3 days ago

Photo: A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real e...

Associated Press

Bremerton man sentenced for 20 ‘swatting’ calls of false threats in US, Canada

A Bremerton man who made 20 "swatting" calls around the U.S. and in Canada, prompting real emergency responses, has been sentenced.

4 days ago

Image: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, left, speaks with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zele...

Associated Press

Ukraine uses US weapons to strike inside Russia, a Western official tells AP

Ukraine has used U.S weapons to strike inside Russia in recent days, according to a Western official familiar with the matter told the AP.

9 days ago

‘These people must be saved’: Ukrainians train in combat aid