As reported by Censor.NET, the soldiers received the non-governmental awards from People's Hero of Ukraine, military doctor Tetiana Ivanenko, who has rescued dozens of wounded, and well-known activist Volodymyr Holodniuk, the father of Heavenly Hundred Hero Ustym Holodniuk killed in Kyiv in 2014.
Eight persons who took active part in the war in Ukraine’s east were decorated at the ceremony in Ivano-Frankivsk.
Three soldiers were awarded the title of People's Hero posthumously:
- Chernivtsi University professor Leonid Derhach (call sign Akademik), the commander of a company of the 72nd Brigade’s 3rd Battalion;
- legendary 23-year-old commander of the 9th Mechanized Company of the 93rd Separate Mechanized Brigade, Senior Lieutenant Volodymyr Tsiryk, call sign Osa, known for skillful artillery fire adjustment that often resulted in destroyed enemy hardware;
- a native of the Ivano-Frankivsk region Stepan Stefurak, 19, who was the youngest fighter of the 5th Separate Battalion of the Ukrainian Volunteer Corps Right Sector. Stepan was Ilovaisk operation veteran. He was killed near the Donetsk airport when his vehicle tripped a mine.
Five other Donbas war veterans personally came up on stage to be decorated.
The first soldier awarded with the silver medal was Odesa-born member of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army’s 8th Battalion Volodymyr Halahan, call sign Dushman.
"I serve the Ukrainian people!" - said the awarded 72nd Brigade’s mortar gunner Olena, call sign Kyiv. Holding a degree in economics, she volunteered for the army in 2015 and was appointed mortar battery commander two years later. The mortar squads under her command have destroyed dozens of the enemy dugouts and a number of armored vehicles.
The title was also awarded to 25-year-old Dmytro (call sign Hans), a member of the Right Sector’s 1st separate assault company, who came to defend Ukraine's freedom from Belarus.
The People's Hero of Ukraine title was also awarded to Tryzub Dental NGO whose members managed to create a fully operational service for aiding fighters on the front line.
The People's Hero of Ukraine Order is a non-state award established by the social activists. It is awarded to servicemen, social activists, charity providers, and doctors - those who defend the country’s east from the Russian aggressor and those who help the defenders being in the rear. The award ceremonies are held in different cities. The decoration itself is made of donated silver.