Ruben Mawick was lucky. Lucky to still be alive. This boy, born twenty years ago in the German city of Soest, in North Rhine-Westphalia (western Germany), was part of the team of the NGO Road to Relief directed by the Spanish Emma Igual and who was the victim of a Russian projectile in nearby from Kostantínovka, in eastern Ukraine.
Equal and the Canadian Anthony Inhat, who was called "Tonko", died in the "direct impact" of the Russian projectile that the vehicle in which they were heading towards Bakhmut suffered. Mawick and his other companion, the Swede Johan Thyr, managed to get out of the vehicle, which was left on its side and engulfed in flames.
Without being able to recover the bodies of Igual and Inhat, Mawick and Thyr, the two survivors, badly injured, managed to advance several kilometers along the road until soldiers from the Ukrainian Army perceived their presence and came to their aid. Mawick and Thyr were on foot, suffering from burns and shrapnel wounds from the Russian anti-tank guided missile that attacked them, according to what they told Road to Relief. Now "they are recovering well," they say in the NGO.
Shortly after being treated at the hospital, the Ukrainian media Donbas Frontliner published images of both. Mawick also demonstrated, despite his injuries, heroic fortitude when asked what message he wanted to send to the world.
"I want to say that they send more of everything, more tanks to the Ukrainian Army, more supplies. That they share videos of this war. This war is not over. It is far from over," he said in English, before switching to his native language , in which he was direct in demanding support for the country illegally invaded by Vladimir Putin's Russia.
"You have to make more donations. The war is not over, the war is getting worse, more and more people are dying, the war does not stop. It will only stop if we send more support," said the young man surrounded by doctors. In the video, his hands and legs are bandaged. As a result of the burns, his face is covered in bandages. He can move his lips and tongue to address the Donbas Frontliner's camera.
At 20 years old, Mawick had joined the work of the NGO run by Igual as a volunteer. "I am a nurse and I decided to come here to help because what is happening here is unfair. And we must fight against injustice," says Mawick in a video that has circulated these days on the Internet. "The battle for freedom is the most valuable battle that can be fought," he adds.
That last thing, Mawick, who defines himself as "a very normal boy", has been clear about it for a long time. The message, in English, 'Freedom is not Free', is tattooed on his body. In other words, "freedom is not free." Surely that faith in freedom led him to say that being where he was at the time of the attack was "what he had to do." "I'm not happy to be here, hurt. I hope I'm not disabled. I hope I can get my hearing back, but what I did was what I had to do," Mawick concluded.