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Special Request: Help Mykola Pastukh
Wounded by shrapnel on the job in Luhansk Oblast, he will need expensive surgery to regain full use of his right hand
Greetings everyone. I come with you today with an appeal to help a friend and colleague. Mykola Pastukh is a Ukrainian photographer and videographer who, since the beginning of the invasion, has made his living getting journalists and humanitarian aid into and out of hot zones on Ukraine’s battlefields. I myself worked with him for several days in the Donbas last month, and it was thanks to him that I was able to get into and out of Severodonetsk safely.
Two days after that last trip, Mykola and two of my colleagues attempted a second trip to Severodonetsk. While assessing the situation at the last-standing bridge (since destroyed) into the city, Russian artillery hit them almost dead on. You can see the GoPro footage below, taken by Alex Chan Tsz Yuk. It is a miracle that no one died.
Unfortunately for Mykola, a piece of shrapnel entered his body at his shoulder. While his wound was thankfully not life threatening, it damaged a nerve and he will be unable to move four fingers on his right hand without extensive surgery. He is also in a lot of pain.
As is the industry norm for freelance journalists operating in war zones, Mykola has no institutional backing to help him cover his medical expenses. While the final cost of the surgery is unknown, Mykola expects it to run a couple thousand dollars (Ukraine’s health care system is free, except when it isn’t). Furthermore, he will be unable to work for at least a month after the operation. As he is the sole breadwinner for his wife and little girl, this is understandably a major point of anxiety for Mykola. Finally, Mykola will need new body armor because his kit was inadvertently recycled into the Ukrainian armed force’s inventory by the military doctors tending to his wounds.
If you are interested in helping Mykola, please donate to his PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would prefer an international bank transfer, I can also supply you with his banking details. I can also introduce any prospective benefactors to Mykola directly if you are interested in a more detailed estimate of his needs.
Unfortunately, GoFundMe did not approve my attempt to start a fundraiser on the grounds that a) they do not distribute funds in Ukraine and b) they could not sufficiently verify my link to Mykola to let me act as his financial go-between. On a related note, I am happy to provide whatever additional information you would like in the interest of transparency to assuage any fraud-related concerns.
Thank you for your support. Mykola is a great guy with the heart of a lion, and is eager to get back to work helping the world better understand Russia’s war of annihilation against his home.