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‘Pick up my leg’: With paramedics as they treat woman near Ukraine’s frontline during aerial attack

Bakhmut has its days that are more difficult than others, but it is not easy.

It was once home to 100,000 people. Now it is a military target for the Russian army.

However, the Russian generals have made the city a major problem by bombarding its neighborhoods with rockets and shells.



News blackout means that something big is happening in southern Ukraine – war latest

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We followed the ambulance crew from the city to see how they dealt with the human effects of the disaster. They were several kilometres away from the front line.

Paramedics discovered a woman lying on the roadside with smoke billowing behind.

Her chest was bleeding, and her shoes were ripped at the tips.

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She screamed “Pick up my legs!” before calling out to her partner. “Vova!”

He replied, “Just a moment, Rimma. They will help you.”


“The earth shaken as the explosives hit-I dived for cover”

Like many other neighbourhoods in Bakhmut this one has been heavily shelled by Russians. As the crew began treating their patient, another aerial assault began.

The sound intensified as it became more rhythmic. As the explosives struck the ground, the earth vibrated and plumes of phosphorus-like smoke rose into the air.

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While Ronnie Dewhurst, my colleague, filmed the ambulance crew, I took cover behind a brick wall.

His footage shows the paramedics pacing briefly as the strike closed in before laying themselves on the ground. They did not abandon the woman who was injured, and soon returned to her side.

We fled the attack scene in search of safety, but we returned to the station’s humble ambulance station later that day.


“It’s crucial – her hip was reversed”

Vlad, one of the attendants who had taken Rimma to him, told us that Rimma was not in the best condition.

It’s crucial, it’s her head, her legs, a displaced fracture. It was not good that her hip was rearranged.

“What did your eyes see? What did you hear?” I asked.

Although I was focused on the woman, explosions started. Vlad responded, “I started to bandage the woman, and then the explosions began. Everyone fled, but luckily I had enough time to continue bandaging the woman and I was able to finish it in my car.”

Image Vlad was an emergency responder

“I gave her painkillers. We did everything we could, despite all the shelling.”

“When the rockets struck, you didn’t run away. You stayed with her,” I replied.

“If not me who?” He replied, “It’s simple. Someone needs to do it.”

In less than a month’s time, this city was sliced, diced and pummelled. Residents have had their walls pierced by artillery shells, and streets have been littered with missile craters.

Bakhmut has people who are determined to save their city regardless of what happens on the frontline.

Tickets for the special event at London’s Imperial War Museum, which examines the war in Ukraine can be purchased here

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