Newlyweds Oksana Balandina and Viktor Vasyliv had their first dance after their wedding in a hospital wing in Lviv, western Ukraine.
The groom lifted his wife in his arms and spun her around the hospital beds, while she put one arm around his neck and the other hand, bandaged, on her beloved’s chest.
Oksana Balandina and Viktor Vasyliv got married in a hospital in Lviv, western Ukraine (Photo: Reuters)
It’s a moment the 23-year-old couple never thought they would share, after Balandina lost both of her legs to a landmine explosion on March 27, a little over a month after the Russian invasion began, as the couple returned. home to Lysychansk, in the Luhansk region of Ukraine, in the east of the country.
“I could only yell at him: ‘love, look!’ said Balandina, remembering the moment of the explosion.
“He looked at me when the mine exploded. I fell, face down on the ground. There was an extreme noise in my head. So I turned around and started ripping my clothes. I thought it would be easier to breathe because there was no air. enough”, recalled Balandina.
Viktor Vasyliv, who was walking behind her, was unharmed.
“When it happened, I gave up, in desperation. I didn’t know what to do. I saw that she didn’t move,” he said. “If it wasn’t for Oksana, I don’t know what would have happened. She’s very strong. She didn’t faint. Oksana was the one who coordinated our actions,” she added.
Balandina has been treated at several hospitals across the country in the last month. Eventually, doctors had to amputate both of his legs and four fingers of his left hand.
Oksana Balandina had to amputate both her legs and four fingers of her left hand after being hit by a mine explosion in Ukraine (Photo: Reuters)
She said those were very difficult days.
“I didn’t want to live… I didn’t want to live like this, I have two children. I didn’t want to be seen like that. I didn’t want to be a burden to anyone in my family,” said Balandina, speaking at the hospital.
“But thanks to the support, I accepted. I need to go on living. It’s not the end of life. If God left me alive, this is my destiny.”
Their two children — a 7-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl — are with their grandparents in the Poltava region of central Ukraine.
The wedding took place on Monday (2). Now, the couple wants to travel to Germany, where Balandina intends to get prosthetics and undergo rehabilitation.
With a long road ahead and no sign of lasting peace in Ukraine, Balandina said she can only focus on the here and now.
“I want to go back to our city, Lysychansk, but honestly speaking, I’m worried about my children. When the war is over, there will still be a lot going on. The roads are mined, it’s scary,” he declared. “The main objective is to get the prostheses and get back on your feet.”
For Viktor Vasyliv, he is grateful for every day he shares with his new wife:
“I was afraid of losing her. I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t. I was in shock, I couldn’t understand what was happening. I was terrified of losing the person I love,” he said.