Olesya Zhukovska is still alive, the 21-year-old first aid volunteer who tweeted “I’m dying” to those closest to her.
The next day they got another message: her gratitude for their prayers. She said, ‘I’m in hospital, in stable condition.’
On Thursday, a bullet went through Zhukovska’s neck. She had been standing where Institutska Street meets Independence Square (Maidan) in the Ukrainian capital. As she was bleeding heavily, she sent the tweet. But she was operated on in time.
We got news about her from the head of the volunteer medical service in Maidan, Oleh Musiy.
On the phone with euronews, Musiy said: “After she is transferred from intensive care to a regular room in the hospital, I hope she can finish her treatment with us, until her life is no longer in danger. The wound in her neck was serious. What we see with Olesya and the people who were killed yesterday and whose bodies we helped transfer to the pathologists, is that 70-80 percent of them had gunshot wounds in the head or neck.”
Other reports said high-precision rifles are being used, with ammunition that breaks bones.
More than 1,500 doctors, nurses and first aid staff have been volunteering in Maidan since 1 December. They work eight to ten-hour shifts. There are seven improvised hospitals around the square. One is in the main post office building.
Another doctor told us: “At around half past eight this morning, they started bringing in the heavily wounded and dead. Nearly all of them have penetrating head injuries. There are ten dead lying here next to us. Two of them were still half alive when they were brought in. But we couldn’t help them. They died.”
The Ukraina Hotel became an emergency station on Thursday morning, for sniper targets. The trauma from bullets, inflicted on civilians, with war weapons in the hands of men under orders, shocked everyone, including medics.
One woman told us: “I work in a very big hospital and we see a lot of cases, but actually we are also quite in panic. I never saw that before and I hope I will never see that in my future again.”
Around 20 medics have been deliberately targeted by the riot police with guns, batons and tear gas. Five were severely wounded, two fired on while tending to people out in the open.