Soldier Andrii Holopapa, call sign "OTETS'" (Father)

My name is Andrii. I am 19, I am a 2nd year student in Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, studying physics.

My life was quite busy before the invasion: being a member of a political party, cycling, active social movement, etc. However, autumn 2021 brought irrevocable changes.

I realized that the war was coming.

Many of my friends thought I was crazy with patriotism, most of them didn't understand either my extreme love for our homeland Ukraine or my "paranoia" about a possible full-scale invasion.

The semester, as well as the year, began with a firm understanding that the war was on the doorstep, which, unfortunately, few people shared with me.

I joined an initiative group organized by our party in Kyiv to inspect the state of bomb shelters for the population, signed up for training that took place at ATEK, ordered uniforms, flags, reviewed various tactical guidelines, etc. However, mistakenly believing that I had more time, I did not get a chance to use most of them.

February 24th greeted me with an air-raid alert and  havoc in the dormitory... I realized that the war had started.

Without hesitation, I packed the most valuable things into my backpack - documents, money and flags, and went to the military registration and enlistment office.

The situation was already extremely pessimistic for the city of Kyiv, so they accepted everyone. I was enrolled in the 101st Brigade to guard the heart of the Armed Forces - the General Headquarters.

During the long, seemingly endless 7 months of war, a lot happened. However, only in September we were sent to the Donetsk region, where my baptism of fire took place.

 At the frontline, I was given the call sign "Otets'" (Father) - because of my excessive calmness and a bunch of amulets that rattled on my neck. And partly because of my surname.

So far, there were no casualties among my comrades, but that notorious mortar shot changed everything - it wounded three, including me, turning us into cargo 300.

Some say I was unlucky, because the shell hit the target - paradoxical, given the level of training of the separatists. However, I think otherwise. I have been lucky many times in my life, and that day was almost the biggest one. Everything could have been much worse.

As a result of the wound, my left lower limb was amputated, but I survived, for which I am grateful to my sworn brothers and doctors.

Next year I plan to resume my studies, further mastering my rather difficult specialty. I dream to continue living the way I lived before the war. And to do it in a Free and Independent Ukraine!