Household and fellow troopers bid farewell to heroic colonel Gudz killed in Donbas
BORYSPIL, KYIV OBLAST – A few hundred individuals gathered in a metropolis memorial park to say their final goodbyes to an impressive fight commander, colonel Valeriy Gudz, who had been killed in a battle close to Russian-occupied Luhansk on March 12.
Gudz, 51, had defended Ukraine from Russia’s military because the early days of battle in 2014. He grew from a platoon chief to a brigade commander. He freed his troopers from captivity and rescued them in battle. For his heroic deeds he acquired a handful of medals.
“He was very courageous. He all the time personally checked all of the frontline positions regardless of his excessive rank,” stated Natalya Sychova, a pal and a volunteer.
“He took care of his troopers, was like father to them,” she went on.
His comrades-in-arms held the farewell ceremony on March 15 to the sounds of shell explosions. Boryspil, Gudz’s hometown, is 30 kilometers west of the positions of Russian forces which have been transferring towards Kyiv.
As Russian troopers attempt to besiege Ukraine’s capital, Gudz’s job was to push them out from the nation’s east, one thing he proved to be good at throughout eight years of battle.
The final battle
When Russia declared its full-scale battle towards Ukraine on Feb. 24, Gudz was on a scheduled coaching for navy commanders. He instantly dropped it and returned to the frontline.
Two days later he was killed.
“He died in his first battle,” stated Olena Mokrenchuk, a pal of the Gudz household and a press officer of Ukraine’s Armed Forces.
However the battle in Donbas had escalated and Gudz was wanted there.
“The scenario was very critical. There was a risk of encirclement of our essential forces, and it was essential to conduct an operation to forestall it,” she stated, “that’s why he was despatched there. His expertise and his information have been very important.”
The battle occurred close to Popasna, a metropolis 100 kilometers to the west of Russian-occupied Luhansk. Gudz knew each the positions and the individuals properly, Mokrenchuk stated, as he had served there as a commander of the twenty fourth Mechanized Brigade earlier than he left for coaching.
“This actually exhibits his character. He didn’t arrive and begin unpacking, making himself snug in a brand new chair. As an alternative, he went straight right into a battle,” she stated.
A ‘father’ to his troopers
Within the 2000s Gudz retired to order after serving within the military for 10 years.
He then grew to become a trainer of pre-service coaching for younger males.
Amongst his college students was Vyacheslav Pecheniuk, a former soldier and now a member of the territorial protection pressure.
“He confirmed me boxing, I did it for 3 years. He continuously tried to maintain me subsequent to him, so I didn’t get into bother,” Pecheniuk stated.
“He was a task mannequin and somebody I used to be pleased with,” he added.
In 2014, Pecheniuk joined the Ukrainian military like Gudz. He served on the frontline for one 12 months. After a break he determined to return and signed up for Gudz’s brigade.
“And right here once more he was maintaining me subsequent to him. Didn’t let me be part of the intelligence unit,” he stated, including that Gudz was nervous for his security.
Collectively they served in Avdiivka, a hotspot within the battle in Donetsk Oblast. For a while Pecheniuk was Gudz’s driver.
“A humorous factor. Each time I used to be driving him someplace he was studying a guide. He was well-read, sensible,” he stated.
Gudz’s nickname was “79,” the variety of the primary brigade he served in, however troopers say everybody known as him by his patronymic, Fedorovych, in a really fatherly means.
A hero of town
“Heroes don’t die,” stated the abbot of St. Nicholas Church, Father Nicholas, who held the ceremony.
“Nonetheless, nobody is born a hero. You’ll be able to develop into one,” he went on.
Gudz was a hero, he stated, as a result of he defended the nation and town and earned individuals’s respect.
He’s buried in Knishov Memorial Park subsequent to different heroes of Ukraine together with the crew of an plane downed by Russia in Slovyansk in June 2014.
“Due to individuals like him we solely felt what battle is basically like 20 days in the past. Previous to that, he guarded our peace and defended our quiet sky together with over Boryspil,” stated metropolis mayor Volodymyr Borysenko.
“We are going to always remember and by no means forgive,” he stated.
Writer: Anna MyroniukAnna Myroniuk is the top of investigations on the Kyiv Impartial. Anna has run investigative tasks on human rights, healthcare and illicit commerce. She investigated presidents and oligarchs. She has written for Coda Story, OCCRP and Washington Submit. Anna holds a Masters in Investigative Journalism from the Metropolis College of London, is a Chevening Scholar, and a finalist of the 2020 Thomson Basis Younger Journalist Award.