The Ukraine War Through the Eyes of an Expat

Eugene Plotkin story of the Ukraine War is one of resilience and courage. A Russian ex-pat living in Kyiv, Plotkin witnessed first-hand the horror and destruction of the conflict that began in 2014. His story is a powerful example of the human cost of war and the suffering endured by all sides. After experiencing the impact of the war on his personal life and his adopted Ukrainian home, Plotkin emerged with a unique perspective on the conflict. He shares his story to remind us of the need to prevent future wars and remember those affected by the devastating conflict. Through his powerful words and vivid images, Plotkin gives us a glimpse into the reality of the Ukraine War and a better understanding of its human cost.


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Background of the Ukraine War

The Ukraine War is a conflict that broke out in 2014 between pro-independence Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatist forces. The spark for the competition was the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014. The annexation came in response to the ousting of pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and the rise of a new pro-Western government. The fighting in eastern Ukraine has left over 10,000 people dead, with estimates of up to 25,000 wounded. The conflict escalated into a proxy war between Western powers and Russia. The United States and European Union imposed sanctions on Russia in response to its annexation of Crimea and its role in destabilising the country’s eastern part.

Eugene Plotkin’s Story

In February 2014, Plotkin was living in Kiev, Ukraine and had just finished an intensive six-month language course. During his language study, Eugene Plotkin fell in love with the country and its people. His relationship with a Ukrainian woman, Kateryna, was also blossoming. Plotkin was planning to stay in Kiev a little longer before moving to Israel to study for a Ph.D. But, as the Ukraine War escalated, he decided to remain in Kiev to support Kateryna and her family. He found a job teaching at a university and used his free time to volunteer as a first responder in Kiev’s war-torn eastern region. In the late autumn of 2014, Kateryna’s life was changed forever when one of her legs was amputated due to a severe infection. She was in constant pain and heavily medicated. Plotkin became her full-time caregiver and remained with her throughout her painful recovery.

Witnessing the Destruction of the War

Plotkin witnessed the destruction of the war when he responded to a medical emergency in his war-torn eastern city of Zaporizhia. He was one of a few volunteers trying to help a young man who had been shot in the leg. The man was in agony, screaming in pain and bleeding heavily. His friends had tried to bandage the wound, but it was no use. Clearly, the man needed immediate medical attention or would lose his leg. But there was no way to transport him to the hospital because the fighting between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists was too intense. There was also no way to evacuate the man because no planes were flying to the region. As the hours passed, the man began to lose consciousness and was in danger of slipping into a coma. Plotkin decided to take action. He found a car and drove to the man’s home to retrieve a colostomy bag and saline solution to help prevent his leg from swelling. By the time Plotkin returned to the man, he was utterly unconscious, so Plotkin massaged the bag to remove the fluid manually. The man regained consciousness later, but his leg was severely infected and in great pain. Plotkin applied the saline solution as often as possible, but it was insufficient to prevent the portion from swelling. He was also running out of saline solution. This meant the man would have to go without the fluid that was helping to prevent his leg from swelling and infection, and it would almost certainly mean the loss of his leg.

Fortunately, the Red Cross got a UAV drone to the scene the following day, the first time the area had been accessible by air. The drone lowered a bag of saline solution to Plotkin, but he had to wait another day to evacuate the man to the nearest hospital due to poor weather conditions. The man lost his leg due to the infection, but most importantly, he survived. These experiences reminded Plotkin of the devastation the conflict was causing and spurred him to help others. He used his Facebook page to connect with volunteers, medics and people in need.

The Impact on Plotkin’s Life

The Ukraine War had a significant impact on Plotkin’s life. His relationship with Kateryna ended when her health took a turn for the worse. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and the stress of the war, the amputation and the pain from her illness profoundly affected her. Kateryna’s health deteriorated, so she needed full-time care and was in and out of the hospital for treatment. Plotkin stayed by her side, providing support, companionship and care. He adapted his life to accommodate Kateryna’s health issues and used his medical training to assist the medical staff. His home and life were turned upside down, and he had to adapt to become Kateryna’s full-time caregiver. Despite the challenges, Plotkin remained optimistic and focused on the needs of the people around him. He was able to draw strength from his experiences and use them to help others in need.

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