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Bruised but ready for battle

Bruised but ready for battle

Nobody can see him roaming the streets of Kiev.

But it’s not a secret either.

He folds the leg of his pants, his trained hands and loosens the prosthesis attached to the knee. It is red and decorated with Ukrainian rose paint.

For me, it has become a cherished thing. It’s something I own that no one else has. I embody my dentures. Design them so that they look cool, he told TV 2.

turning point

We met him in a park in the Ukrainian capital, where combat vehicles from the war in eastern Ukraine are on display.

Rosmalt: Max decorates his own prosthetic limbs. Photo: Aage Aune / TV 2

War Cemetery: In a park in Kiev, they displayed vehicles belonging to the Russian army.  Photo: Aage Aune/TV 2.

War Cemetery: In a park in Kiev, they displayed vehicles belonging to the Russian army. Photo: Aage Aune/TV 2.

Many of them had large holes in their steel bodies. This is a material belonging to the Russian invasion army, but it was destroyed by the Ukrainian government forces. Paintings in several languages ‚Äč‚Äčtell the ultimate story of each vehicle.

Max gently pats the Ukrainian BTR-80 storm tank.

– First of all, we fought them with sticks and stones. He proudly says we now have much better equipment.

His dream was always to start the defense. All of his ancestors were officers in the army, thus he also started in war school after high school.

Then he was sent to the front in eastern Ukraine, and that’s where it happened, on a summer’s day in 2018.

– He stepped on an exploding mine. It was a turning point for me. Max says, you changed my life without any bitterness.

Turning point: Max Alekseev stepped on a mine during the war in eastern Ukraine and lost his right leg.  Despite the serious injury, he learned to walk again with a prosthesis.  Photo: Aage Aune / TV 2

Turning point: Max Alekseev stepped on a mine during the war in eastern Ukraine and lost his right leg. Despite the serious injury, he learned to walk again with a prosthesis. Photo: Aage Aune / TV 2

written in the stars

After that fateful day, Max was never skeptical about what to do. He wanted to go back to defense.

After hard training, he now believes he can jump, run, and walk better than when his right foot was made of flesh and bone.

– You just have to do it a little differently. You have to think differently. Max says today I feel like I won more than I lost.

– I understand now that it was supposed to happen. It may have been written in the stars, says the 26-year-old who is now preparing for what could be the ordeal of his life.

Backpack ready

Like all Ukrainians, he follows today’s news closely. What’s the latest news from the border? Did the Russians do anything new?

If there is an invasion, Max is determined to go out and fight.

Memorial Wall: In the center of Kiev, hang pictures and names of all Ukrainian soldiers who lost their lives fighting against Russian forces and separatists in Donbass.  At least 13,000 people have been killed so far in the conflict and 30,000 wounded, according to the United Nations.  Photo: Aage Aune / TV 2

Memorial Wall: In the center of Kiev, hang pictures and names of all Ukrainian soldiers who lost their lives fighting against Russian forces and separatists in Donbass. At least 13,000 people have been killed so far in the conflict and 30,000 wounded, according to the United Nations. Photo: Aage Aune / TV 2

– I don’t doubt for a second. If necessary, I will go to war. The question is just when. My bag is packed and ready. I will leave immediately if that happens.

In eastern Ukraine, he has faced Russian soldiers and their local allies before, neither fearing nor hating his enemies.

But if they go into conquest, they’ll have problems, he promises.

Ready for battle: If Russia decides to invade more areas of Ukraine, Max is ready to defend his country again.  Photo: Aage Aune / TV 2

Ready for battle: If Russia decides to invade more areas of Ukraine, Max is ready to defend his country again. Photo: Aage Aune / TV 2

Exhibition: In the capital of Ukraine, destroyed military vehicles used in the fighting in eastern Ukraine were displayed.  Photo: Aage Aune / TV 2

Exhibition: In the capital of Ukraine, destroyed military vehicles used in the fighting in eastern Ukraine were displayed. Photo: Aage Aune / TV 2

Memorial Wall: In Saint Michael's Monastery in Kiev, a memorial wall has been erected containing portraits of those killed in the eight-year war against Russia.  Photo: Aage Aune / TV 2

Memorial Wall: In Saint Michael’s Monastery in Kiev, a memorial wall has been erected containing portraits of those killed in the eight-year war against Russia. Photo: Aage Aune / TV 2

Memorial Wall: In Saint Michael's Monastery in Kiev, a memorial wall has been erected containing portraits of those killed in the eight-year war against Russia.  Photo: Aage Aune / TV 2

Memorial Wall: In Saint Michael’s Monastery in Kiev, a memorial wall has been erected containing portraits of those killed in the eight-year war against Russia. Photo: Aage Aune / TV 2

Memorial Wall: In Saint Michael's Monastery in Kiev, a memorial wall has been erected containing portraits of those killed in the eight-year war against Russia.  Photo: Aage Aune / TV 2

Memorial Wall: In Saint Michael’s Monastery in Kiev, a memorial wall has been erected containing portraits of those killed in the eight-year war against Russia. Photo: Aage Aune / TV 2

Quiet: In the Ukrainian capital, the atmosphere is tense but calm while residents have to live with the threat of war.  Photo: Aage Aune / TV 2

Quiet: In the Ukrainian capital, the atmosphere is tense but calm while residents have to live with the threat of war. Photo: Aage Aune / TV 2

Memorial Wall: At the Sankt Michael Monastery in Kiev, a memorial wall has been erected containing portraits of those killed in the nearly eight-year war against Russia. Photo: Aage Aune/TV 2

Memorial Wall: At the Sankt Michael Monastery in Kiev, a memorial wall has been erected containing portraits of those killed in the nearly eight-year war against Russia. Photo: Aage Aune/TV 2

Quiet: In the Ukrainian capital, the atmosphere is tense but calm while residents have to live with the threat of war.  Photo: Aage Aune / TV 2

Quiet: In the Ukrainian capital, the atmosphere is tense but calm while residents have to live with the threat of war. Photo: Aage Aune / TV 2

– I don’t quite understand what the Russians would think if they thought they could come here and take over the whole country. Everyone loves adventure. And now it is clear that the Russians made up stories about how easy it was for us to be transferred, but this is wrong, says the young officer on TV 2.

He is grateful for the support Ukraine is now receiving from the West, but said he is fighting and dying, and the Ukrainians will do it themselves.

– The Russian soldier has no other motive than the small money he receives from his salary. So when they come in here and are shot from every window, I don’t think they turn away.

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