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Ukraine’s Unstoppable Medics | Close Up

A volunteer medical battalion in Ukraine provides first aid assistance and evacuates civilians and wounded soldiers from the front lines.

“There are so many injured people, injured physically and mentally. There is simply no chance for us to stop,” says 27-year-old Yana Zinkevych, the founder of Hospitallers, a battalion of volunteer medics in Ukraine.

Yana taught herself tactical first aid when she ditched medical school and joined a unit of volunteer fighters in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. It was then, while fighting against Russian forces in 2014, that she realised her mission was to help injured comrades.

Today, her battalion is made up of several hundred men and women who provide first aid assistance to wounded soldiers and civilians on Ukraine’s front lines. Yana runs combat first aid courses, trains volunteers in the use of firearms and organises transport to the front lines.

“I organise things, I share my experience, I’m good at it but this is not exactly what I would like to do,” says the commander of the Hospitallers Medical Battalion when recounting how she no longer is able to go to the front lines because she is in a wheelchair, paralysed from the waist down.

As the war in Ukraine rages on, our film follows an unstoppable woman and her team of medics as they work tirelessly to protect the injured from the horrors of the war.


A film by Francesca Tosarelli

Producers: Francesca Tosarelli, Tierney Bonini

Editors: Catherine Hallinan, Silvia Biagioni

Assistant Producer: Fiammetta Pisani

Translators: Yurii Chernata, Ivanna Sysak, Anna Shtepura, Myroslava Tararuieva

EP: Tierney Bonini

Special thanks to: Yana Zinkevych, Nemo, the Hospitallers Medical Battalion and Andreja Kozuly