August 9, 2017

With a Desire to Win,
Or Together We Are Invincible!

At the request of the military servicemen participating in combat operations in the zone of the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) we are publishing a letter in which they express their gratefulness to the Republic of Lithuania for the fraternal assistance in the treatment and rehabilitation of our servicemen.

The author of the correspondence is Nadiya Serbenko, a student of the Master's program of the Institute of International Relations of the Kyiv Taras Shevchenko National University, a frequent winner of the competitions of the Independent Analytical Center for Geopolitical Studies “Borysfen Intel” (incidentally, her parents are also combat veterans of the ATO).

 

Almost three centuries ago, the world-famous British writer Walter Scott wrote: “If people do not learn to help each other, the human race will disappear”. It has been a very long time, but these words remain relevant, and especially today!

One of the main principles of international law is the principle of cooperation of states. The United Nations Charter (1945), in Article 1 (Paragraph 3), recognizes the legal obligation of states to “achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character”.

This principle is based on two motives: firstly, the maintenance of peace and security is possible only through cooperation in various spheres of international life; secondly, the current problems are so interconnected that countries cannot overcome them if acting alone. Without cooperation in the economic, social, cultural and humanitarian spheres, one can hardly hope for progress and for any significant achievements. Only by joining forces, states can achieve tangible results at minimal costs. It is not accidentally that the principle of cooperation is enshrined in statutory documents of international and regional organizations, in many international treaties, in resolutions of international organizations and in states' declarations.

Today, the situation in Ukraine is extremely complicated, both geopolitically and in the legal sense. More than three years have passed since Russia annexed the Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula and unleashed the armed aggression against Ukraine in the Donbas. As the specialists of the Independent Analytical Center for Geopolitical Studies “Borysfen Intel” say: “In the geopolitical context — the three years of the Russian military intervention against Ukraine have exposed vulnerabilities in the system of international security”. Therefore, there is one and only conclusion from this: we could not defeat the aggressor on our own.

Here we will talk about our north-western neighbor — the Republic of Lithuania, namely, about cooperation and mutual assistance of the states and the implementation of the basic principle of international law — the principle of their cooperation.

 

Ramūnas ŠerpatauskasThis story began in the stormy 1991, when Ramunas Serpatauskas turned 12. The events were unfolding in the main square of Vilnius near the TV tower. January 13, 1991, there arrived tanks of Soviet occupiers (as the Soviet authorities were called in the Baltic States). Almost all the men of the city, as well as of the entire country, stood up to defend Lithuania's freedom. With a sinking heart, Ramunas was watching what was happening on TV, and his father was at the time in the center of Druskininkai. The TV broadcast stopped after the television presenter's exclamation: “This is the end, they have come, they are already here”. Soon a curfew was announced.

It is these events of January 13, 1991, that became crucial for Ramunas Serpatauskas, when he firmly decided: whatever happens, he will become a military servicemen and will not allow foreigners to tread on his native land. He kept his word in the hard time for his homeland and at the age of 17 (in 1996) became a volunteer.

 

Lithuania was not indifferent to the events taking place in Ukraine in early 2014. President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite said that Ukraine should be helped with the treatment and rehabilitation of Ukrainian servicemen. After that, the Ministry of Defense together with the Lithuanian leadership made a decision on the rehabilitation of wounded servicemen-participants of the ATO in a special center located in the city of Druskininkai in the south of Lithuania. The Ukrainian side gratefully accepted the proposal of the neighboring state, which from the very first days of the outbreak of hostilities extended a helping hand and gave all possible assistance and support: political, financial, military, and, most importantly, moral!

 

Dalia YodineneThe first wounded arrived in Lithuania on 14 September, 2014. Their condition was so severe that they were immediately sent from the aircraft to the hospitals of Vilnius and Kaunas. Under the agreement of both sides, the chief of the treatment department of the J. Basanavicius Military Rehabilitation Center in Druskininkai, Dalia Yodinene, arrived in Ukraine, in the city of Dnipro, on 20 February, 2015. During her three-days staying there, she managed to visit the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Clinical Hospital named after I. Mechnikov and the military hospital where she examined the wounded servicemen and invited them to undergo rehabilitation in Lithuania.

The hero of these lines — Ramunas Serpatauskas — by that time was no longer serving in the Armed Forces of Lithuania, but rushed to the rehabilitation center the moment he heard about the arrival of the Ukrainian military. On his way to the building where the Ukrainian servicemen were stationed, he was thinking about how to start the acquaintance, with what words to support them. Entering the room, he loudly greeted them: “Glory to Ukraine!” And the response was unanimous: “Glory to the Heroes!” That's how it all began.

Ramunas understood that Ukrainian servicemen needed support, and through them — the whole Ukraine. He established relations, agreed on cooperation with the administrations of the best historical and memorable places in Lithuania: the Museum of Resistance and Deportations, Antanas Cesnulis Sculpture Park, Museum of Druskininkai Town, “Partisan Memorial” in the city of Merkine, the Hill of Crosses, the Palace of the Grand Dukes, etc. He sought to show the Ukrainians everything that would strengthen their faith in a better future and a peaceful sky above their heads!

And for the third year in a row, with Ramunas' help, Ukrainian soldiers get acquainted with Lithuania, visit historical and memorable places, healing not only their physical injuries, but also their souls!

Ramunas also organizes meetings with the country's top officials, city administrations, etc. And he does all this free of charge, that is, as a volunteer. In March 2017 he was officially offered the position of a specialist at the Druskininkai Rehabilitation Center.

 

By the way, since October 2014 the Druskininkai Rehabilitation Center has helped in the rehabilitation of more than 150 servicemen from Ukraine. Due to the responsible management and tireless staff, treatment at the Center remains in memory for a long time.

Special thank you should be said to the Chief of the Rehabilitation Center, Major Richerdas Lanauskas, who managed to create a very pleasant moral and psychological atmosphere. Our servicemen are also very grateful to the psychologist, Captain Myroslav Felestovich — a true master of his business, who is said to have a gift from God. The chief of the treatment department, Captain Dalia Yodinene, professionally prescribes each wounded an individual treatment, which after several sessions gives tangible results. Captain Rosita, an ace in kinesitherapy (a branch in physical therapy), puts even seriously ill patients on their legs. And all thanks to a special set of exercises and training.

It has already become a tradition when, upon the arrival and departure of Ukrainian servicemen, two flags are raised at the main administrative building of the Center — Lithuanian and Ukrainian, symbolizing the unity and cooperation of our countries and peoples.

Military Rehabilitation Center in Druskininkai

Chief of the Rehabilitation Center Richerdas Lanauskas

We express most cordial gratefulness to the employees of the Druskininkai Rehabilitation Center, because they are masters in their field and, most importantly, responsibly fulfill their duties.

The medical assistance to Ukrainian soldiers and their rehabilitation in the above-mentioned Druskininkai Center is financed by the Ministry of Defense of Lithuania. Minister of Defense of the country, Raimundas Karoblis, is tirelessly engaged in the implementation of this program. He invites each group arriving for rehabilitation in Lithuania, to the Ministry of Defense and personally communicates in a friendly atmosphere with a cup of tea.

 

We would also like to express our gratefulness to Volodymyr Yatsenkivskyi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Republic of Lithuania, who makes a lot of efforts to implement this initiative. With his help, a library department with Ukrainian literature was created in the Center. He always meets at the Embassy with Ukrainian soldiers arriving for rehabilitation, and gives them symbolic gifts.

All representatives of the diplomatic corps of Lithuania in Ukraine (in particular the Ambassador of the Lithuanian Republic to Ukraine, Marius Janukonis, who works tirelessly to make the interstate cooperation permanent, for our military to be treated in Lithuania) deserve sincere gratitude for the implementation of this initiative.

Therefore, thanks to the initiative of the President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite and the practical implementation of the program by the Lithuanian Minister of Defense Raimundas Karoblis, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Republic of Lithuania Volodymyr Yatsenkivskyi, the Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania to Ukraine Marius Janukonis, the staff of the J. Basanavicius Military Rehabilitation Center in Druskininkai, including Ramunas Serpatauskas, Ukrainian mothers meet their sons-warriors cured and full of energy, ready to serve their country and to defend its Freedom and Independence!

A deepest gratitude to them all from Ukraine!

 

It is not for nothing that wise people say that preserving and strengthening the unity of peoples is one of the highest virtues! And we know that today we are not alone in our struggle for Freedom, that together we are many, and we will definitely win!