Amputee Ukrainian soldier braces for return to fight
STORY: Ukrainian soldier Oleksandr Fedun is a double amputee.
Standing on two full-leg prostheses at a United States medical center, one might assume the frontlines are far from his mind.
But the opposite is true. If everything goes to plan, he'll be back in Ukraine on Saturday (February 25) - ready to fight, a day after the first anniversary of Russia's invasion.
“Despite the injury, despite everything I have to endure, I am coming back to the army. I am coming back to fight. I will fight side-to-side with my comrades.”
The 24-year-old was hit last May in his home region of Zaporizhzhia, and lost both legs above the knee.
Funded by different charities, Fedun is one of around a dozen soldiers receiving protheses in the U.S.
He's spent the past few months learning how to fit and use his new computer-controlled knees, and is now stable enough to go back home.
More than 8,000 civilians have been recorded killed in Ukraine, according to the U.N. Human Rights Office.
It's believed thousands have lost limbs, or suffered some sort of amputation on the frontlines.
Roman Rodionov and Oleksii Moroz lost arms last October.
The former suffered his injury when a mine fell on the trench he was in. He is very apprehensive about returning to war.
“I think that my injury will make it very hard for me on the battlefield. I won’t last long. I’ll be the next casualty in that situation.”
Moroz lost part of an arm when the armored personnel carrier he was in got hit.
“I am not at all excited to go back. Killing others is not a good thing. It’s not easy as it might seem to you. Nothing is easy back there. There’s hardly any good done. But if I have to… of course, I will. If there’s an emergency, I will go back.”
Ahead of his return though, Fedun did not hesitate when asked what he'd say to Russian President Vladimir Putin if he could speak to him one year into the conflict.
“Just wait for us," he says. "We are coming for you.”