On December 20, Kharkiv joined a national campaign to commemorate the 5th anniversary of Donetsk Airport’s heroic defense.
More than 60 musicians of the joined military orchestra of the Ivan Kozhedub National Air Force University, Kharkiv National Academy of the National Guard of Ukraine, Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University performed three musical works by Ukrainian and European authors dedicated to freedom fighters.
The event brought together Russian-Ukrainian war veterans, Donetsk airport’s defenders called “cyborgs,” officers and cadets of military universities of the Kharkiv garrison, Plast members and passengers of international airlines. At the end of the requiem concert, everyone joined in signing the National Anthem of Ukraine.
Borys Ryabukha, the cyborg, who defended the airport as part of the 95th brigade and who now teaches at the Ivan Kozhedub National Air Force University, attended the concert.
“Occasions such as these are very important to commemorate our heroes. On January 20, 2015, 44 military personnel perished. Everyone should remember the feat of these people, and not just in January,” notes Borys. “This is our land, and we must fight for every scrap of it,” he states.
The national action to honor cyborgs took place at the airports of seven cities such as Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa and others. In the cities with no airports, like Vinnytsa and Chernihiv, the events took place in shopping malls.
Reference: The battles for the strategically important Donetsk airport, started in May 2014 and lasted for 242 days. The Airport’s defenders were nicknamed cyborgs. And the first one who used this word was a terrorist of an illegal armed group of so-called “Novororossia,” “I do not know who fights there, but these are not people – these are ‘cyborgs’.”
The heroic defense lasted until January 22, 2015, when the last cyborgs left the control tower of the Donetsk airport under threat of death.
According to official figures, over 200 Ukrainian military personnel were killed during the 242-day defense.
Cyborgs wrote the most heroic and tragic page of modern Ukrainian history with their blood. “The people could stand up but the concrete could not,” the fighters stated then, the saying became a symbolic catchphrase of those days.
Text: Natalia Ivanova
Photo: Status Quo