Photo Journalist, Soldier Killed in Luhansk Oblast Fighting – October 19, 2014

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Viktor Hurniak (Photo Posted on Facebook by Yuri Butusov)

A photographer and soldier from Lviv died today while fighting in the Luhansk Oblast for Ukraine. Some of my friends on Facebook knew him, and they are greatly upset. I have decided to translate news about his death to honor his memory.

Hromadske.tv
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Viktor Hurniak, Photo Correspondent and Aidar Battalion Soldier, Killed in Luhansk Oblast
(Original link: http://www.hromadske.tv/society/na-luganshchini-zaginuv-fotokor-insider-i-boyets–/)
(Translated by William Risch, Georgia College)

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Viktor Hurniak, a soldier for Aidar Battalion, was killed today at 10.10 a.m. around Checkpoint 32. Viktor himself was trying to evacuate the wounded, but the car would not start. When he was starting it, a shell flew in, and a piece of shrapnel hit him in the side. The soldier lived for a while, but his wounds were fatal.

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Viktor was born in the Ternopil Oblast in 1987. He worked as a photographer. He worked for the UNIAN, INSIDER, and Reuters Tompson agencies. He set up the photography agency LUFA with friends. Over the past half year, he supplied clothes and shoes for Aidar Battalion and got all the equipment for them. He joined the battalion as a soldier in September.

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Viktor was also in the Plast Scouting organization. He managed to be filmed in a video for Tartak and Nichlavy’s “Don’t Tell Anyone” and in Taras Khymych’s movie, Golden September.
He was our colleague and friend. And a real hero.
Viktor Hurniak leaves behind a wife and a two-year-old daughter.

Olesia Yedynak, Viktor’s friend, is collecting donations to help the family: 5211537423129332 Yedynak O. I.

We have included here Tartak and Nichlavy’s video for the song, “Don’t Tell Anyone,” which Viktor appeared in:

Here, too, is the trailer to the movie, Golden September. A Chronicle of Galicia, 1939-1941. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQjiDPY1CyQ

By the way, as Viktor himself confessed, the most difficult part for him during these scenes was kissing a girl…

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Yuri Butusov, editor of the online news portal Tsenzor.net, wrote this in memory of Viktor Hurniak:

Facebook Status Update of Yuri Butusov, October 19, 2014 (Translated by William Risch, Georgia College):

Viktor Hurniak, a man who inspired the brave, suffered death while helping the wounded in the battle for Checkpoint 32 and while trying to break through the Russian mercenaries’ post. Viktor Hurniak was a resident of Lviv. Viktor was a professional journalist and a photographer with Tompson Reuters. As a freelancer, he worked with many media outlets and news agencies, like INSIDER and UNIAN…

On December 1, 2013, Viktor filmed the fight on Bankova Street (in front of the Presidential Administration building – translator) as a photographer. He went through the whole Maidan. And when the war started, Viktor became a soldier – a volunteer for one of the most fearless strike units, Aidar Battalion. With a weapon in his hand, Viktor Hurniak defended each one of us, our Fatherland, his family, his wife Ira Hurniak, a little daughter… Viktor Hurniak’s life was a true example of a patriot of Ukraine, an ideal journalist and citizen. A journalist of the year. A journalist of the century. A true Plast Scout in word and deed. He had many talents, and he considered it impossible to be an observer or a photographer. He chose the path of a true soldier.

Because for him, Ukraine and the Fatherland were not just a place of work or a place of residence – it was the main thing in his life, it was even life itself…

On October 12, Viktor wrote his last status update on Facebook:

“I’ve been moved to tears… Most of all, I want to believe that we will remember the deeds of those who gave their lives for you and I. I’ve gotten to know guys from Donbas for several days already, them, and many others, and their deaths are like those of a close friend. Maybe that’s hard to understand, but it’s impossible to forget. They are without a doubt heroes, like all those who are still alive. Their smiles and their jokes dance before my eyes. It hurts, but I can’t stop it. Ask yourselves: what did you do for victory? The enemy isn’t only outside, it’s within us. Kill it in you, and that will avenge their deaths. Rest in peace friends…”

Viktor once appeared in a movie. It was a video for the group Tartak, “Don’t Tell Anyone.” In the video, Viktor plays a character in the Ukrainian Insurgent Army who dies for Ukraine in battle. The video turned out to be prophetic, and Viktor led his life just as valiantly as his character:

Thank you, Viktor. There are no words to express our grief. We will not forget you, we will not forget your deed, we will not forget your family… Rest in peace, we will carry out your wish, hero…

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Taras Hryvul, a history instructor and a graduate of Lviv National University, is my friend on Facebook. This is how he remembered Viktor Hurniak, who served with him in Aidar Battalion:

Facebook Status Update from Taras Hryvul, October 19, 2014 (translated by William Risch, Georgia College):

Viktor Hurniak, a Plast Scout, a comrade from my platoon, an Aidar soldier, has been killed. Rest in peace! P.S., I will miss hanging out with you.

A video of Tartak’s “My Knight’s Cross,” which Viktor was co-producer of.

The cost has been high in this undeclared war between Russia and Ukraine, and it becomes more noticeable with each passing week as friends online report someone they know being killed or announce their plans to get ready for war. I fear there will be more stories like these in the coming months.

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