They shared everything, a passion for love, peace and war, a room in kyiv, an engagement in the same battalion, and a dog, Hugo. In the end, they mainly shared the war, to which Dmytro Kotsioubailo dedicated his existence and which took his life not far from Bakhmout. For Alina Mykhailova, life stopped when Dmytro, her companion and unit commander, died in her arms, mown down by shrapnel. A few days later, 27-year-old Second Lieutenant Kotsiubailo, famous in Ukraine under his nom de guerre, “Da Vinci”, was treated to a state funeral in Kiev.
On the ninth day of mourning, as is Orthodox tradition, Alina Mykhailova and the family and friends of Dmytro Kotsioubaylo gathered at the Church of St. Nicholas, in the grounds of Askold’s tomb, where the young officer was buried. Anonymous Kievans come to put flowers on his grave. Alina agrees, for the first time since his death on March 7, to talk about Dmytro. Sitting on a bench in this historic kyiv park, she nervously caresses the fringes of her khustkaa traditional Ukrainian scarf.
Alina Mykhailova, a political scientist by profession, elected to the Kiev city council, and herself a second lieutenant in the Ukrainian army, where she commands the medical service of the 1er Battalion Da Vinci’s Wolves of the 67e mechanized brigade, tells the story of two young Ukrainians like so many others, barely out of adolescence when the revolution and then the war picked them off.
“Immediate love at first sight”
““DaVinci”, she says, went to war immediately after Maidan”, the 2014 “revolution of dignity” in which he participated as an activist of the ultra-nationalist Right Sector movement, and during which he chose his nickname, “Da Vinci”. A memory of his artistic studies at the Ivano-Frankivsk high school and of his ambitions as a painter. When Russia annexed Crimea and started the war in the Donbass, he enlisted in a battalion of volunteers created by Right Sector. An excellent soldier, charismatic, he quickly commanded a platoon, then a company.
Alina, she joined a medical unit of volunteers in the Donbass three years later. She was serving in the front line near Avdiïvka, in the trenches, when she received the order to join the Kramatorsk hospital. “I was disappointed because I preferred to be on the front. » In Kramatorsk, she meets “Da Vinci”. “Love at first sight was immediate”, she says. The young officer gets into the habit of bringing her flowers and chocolates. A romance begins in the hospital gardens. For her, it is both a military life that begins, since she will follow him within his battalion after the Russian invasion of 2022, and the end of his first experience on the front. “In six years together, he never allowed me to go back to ‘ground zero’”the first line.
You have 51.54% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.