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A POW’s last words were “Glory to Ukraine.” Ukrainians want to honor him as a war hero

There’s a petition on the Ukrainian presidential office’s website to posthumously award Oleksandr Matsiyevsky with Hero of Ukraine honors after a video of his execution spurred outrage throughout the country.

The Ukrainian military confirmed Matsiyevsk was the prisoner of war who shouted, “Glory to Ukraine!” before he was executed by Russian forces in the clip, according to the petition, which was posted on a government website. The petition is an online form for the public to petition the president.

Earlier this week, there were differing reports on the identity of the service member, whose execution was shared widely on social media.

On Wednesday, reports emerged that the POW could be Matsiyevsky, a soldier with the 163rd Battalion of the 119th Separate Tank Brigade of the northern Chernihiv region.

His mother, Paraska Mikhailovna Demchuk, his son Mykhailo and the soldiers of his unit recognized him in the footage and confirmed his identity, according to a post by the Ukrainian military’s northern Regional Territorial Defense Force Facebook page.

“On December 30, 2022, on the outskirts of Soledar, he and four other servicemen were engaged in a counterattack with superior enemy forces while moving. At about 12 p.m., visual contact and communication with them was lost. Reinforcements could not break through to their position due to continuous mortar fire and heavy small arms fire,” the unit wrote.

The post said the full details of the battle are still unknown and that the military does not have information on how Matsiyevsky was taken prisoner.

“There were no witnesses left — all are dead or missing,” the statement reads.

The service member’s commander told Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspilne Wednesday that he’s sure the soldier shown in the video was Matsiyevsky, citing factors ranging from his mannerisms to his voice and a characteristic eyebrow wound.

Matsiyevsky’s mother told Suspilne that the recording of her son’s execution haunts her, but she said she feels a strong sense of pride in his actions.

“I didn’t sleep the entire night. It kept flickering before my eyes,” she told the broadcaster. “But I felt some kind of lightness and some kind of ray of light when I saw how my son died.”

“It’s so hard, but I really felt like I saw my son’s character — so resilient, so unbreakable,” she continued. “Because he said: ‘Mom, I will never surrender to captivity.’ I kept hearing him repeat ‘Glory to Ukraine’ throughout the night. He was such a warrior, so brave and fearless, you wouldn’t even imagine.”

Source : CNN



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