Story #96. Good and Bad Trench Tales from Sebastian

July 19, 2023
Sebastian, call sign Bach, is a 24 year old Ukrainian infantryman who fought in the Bakhmut sector, near the settlements of Bohdanivka and Khromove.


Sebastian enlisted as a soldier on October 26, 2020. He had no prior military training, but participated in some drills. His role models were soldiers from the Azov Brigade.

Sebastian was recently wounded in combat for the third time when shrapnel injured both of his legs. He has two holes in his left leg. One was the size of a box of matches, the other one the width of a finger. His right leg has three holes. Fortunately, the muscles, bones, nerves, and blood vessels in his legs remain intact.

“It was scary when I was losing blood for three hours. I put a tourniquet on my left leg. While I was trying to figure out if I did it right, my friend and I were hit again with mortars and my right leg was wounded. I put the tourniquet on my right leg and jumped towards evacuation.

It was bleeding heavily. My legs hurt like hell. I think I lost up to a liter of blood.”

War often obliges you to make cold-blooded choices, or rather, makes choices impossible. In the hottest spots, under constant fire and with extremely difficult conditions for evacuating the wounded, Ukrainian soldiers have to act quickly to save as many lives as possible. Unfortunately, they cannot always do it.

“We had two heavy 300s [slang term for wounded]. One was a young guy, 19 years old, weighing 100-110 kg with a serious injury. The other was an older man. His two legs were shattered. He was also hit in the stomach.

Unfortunately, we had only one stretcher. So we had to decide which of our comrades to take. We rescued a 19-year-old guy. The second one could not be saved, because there was no evacuation team. We were firing close, 15-20 meters to the enemy trenches, throwing grenades. Just sitting in the middle of the field and shooting.

It's easier to work in defense, but it's always harder to work in the offense. Assaults always cause more losses. While the Russians are losing a lot of infantry and equipment, our guys are also dying.”

There are both bad and good stories in the war, Sebastian says. He shares the memories of his first ever assault.

"There was a Russian standing in a trench, firing at our guys. I saw him waist-deep, five meters away, and I crouched down. I pulled the trigger to shoot and realized that I hadn't reloaded my weapon. The Russian turned to me and he saw that I was reloading, but realized that I was faster. I realized that he could throw a grenade and kill me.

I immediately rolled into the pit. I was waiting for him from another angle. It was very interesting [Sebastian jokes]. But I managed to put him down. That was my moment of glory, I guess. I was practically alone. Then the guys came and helped. This day we killed about 6-7 enemies.”

Sebastian is now undergoing treatment, and says he is doing better. He is making plans for the future when the war is over.

"I would like to get an agricultural education, grow plants and sell them, both in Ukraine and abroad. I think being a farmer is a great idea. I want to develop spiritually, physically, and be active. I want to develop my family, my business, and charity. I want to accomplish this together with my comrades. I would like to see a strong and prosperous Ukraine. It's all in our hands.

I want to live for love. I want it to be everywhere. I am sick of violence and human stupidity. I would like to change the world for the better.

The way Russians think is violence and occupation. They have been living this way for hundreds of years. Whereas Ukraine has never attacked anyone since its independence. We are fighting for goodness, for non-violence, for a prosperous peaceful world without darkness. Every person who cares should help Ukraine in the fight against the terrorist Russian regime.”

Nika Krychovska
Journalist at UkraineWorld