“Even one life is worth risking. This distinguishes us from the Russians because for them people are just statistics. But we value every life” The chief of the Luhansk Police evacuated 42,000 locals from the hottest spots together with his team
From 3,000 to 5,000 citizens a day were evacuated from Luhansk region by Viktor Levchenko, the chief of the Luhansk Patrol Police, and his police officers in the first month of the war. Viktor says he has experienced more in the last three months than in his previous thirty-three years of life, facing human grief almost daily.
As the police services became irrelevant very fast, he, being the leader of the Luhansk police, decided they would help those they serve — the Ukrainian people. At first, policemen acted as a humanitarian headquarters — gathering and delivering food and hygiene products to people in shelters.
Later, people started leaving the region; but there were many of those unable to flee, as they did not have cars, and Russian shellings destroyed the railway. Then, when people decided to leave, many patrol police officers became drivers to get people out of hell and constant bombings.
“We went to the shelters where people stayed and sometimes tried to persuade them to leave telling them how deadly the situation is. We brought food to those who still refused to leave. That was all we could do to help them at the time. We evacuated people who wanted to evacuate, repeatedly coming under fire. And we were doing this non-stop,” says the chief of patrol police.
“My greatest pain is children who remain in the war zone. They do not deserve to see death, destruction, and being in constant danger. […] For me and patrolmen it was great happiness if it was possible to rescue at least one child with the parents. About a week ago we managed to take out 13 little children during one ride. That was a sensation! For me, even if one child stays there [in Luhansk region — ed.], it is a lot,” adds Levchenko.
Recently Levchenko came under fire and got a severe concussion while accompanying a French journalist covering the evacuation. Levchenko currently stays in a hospital, the other team was severely wounded, and the journalist died right in front of them.