Vi­taliy Kuz­menko

Kyiv Post - - Independen­ce Special -

Kuz­menko (pic­tured in the cen­ter), then a his­tory stu­dent in one of Kyiv uni­ver­si­ties, went to Maidan Neza­lezh­nosti Square to sup­port the EuroMaidan protests on Nov. 30, 2013. That night, he was se­verely beaten dur­ing an at­tack by Berkut riot po­lice as they vi­o­lently broke up the protests. Kuz­menko ended up in hospi­tal with con­cus­sion and bro­ken arm, but he re­fused to be in­tim­i­dated. Weeks later, he was back at the protests, and fought on Maidan un­til the EuroMaidan Revo­lu­tion’s vic­tory over then-Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych in Fe­bru­ary 2014.

Fol­low­ing the revo­lu­tion, Kuz­menko vol­un­teered to fight against Rus­sian-led forces in the Don­bas, say­ing he wanted “to prove ev­ery­thing I stood for on Maidan.” Two years later, in 2016, he re­turned to Maidan Neza­lezh­nosti — this time as a sol­dier march­ing in the In­de­pen­dence Day pa­rade. “When I was stand­ing there with my fel­lows I felt so proud for my coun­try,” Kuz­menko re­calls.

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