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According to Ukrainian authorities, between 2014-2016, over 250,000 soldiers took part in the Anti-Terrorist Operations (ATO) in eastern Ukraine. Sadly, Ukraine's peaceful civil society was not prepared to fight a large-scale war with a formidable aggressor, such as Russia. No systemic measures, such as psychological preparation or post-combat assistance were in place in the military or police units. The traumatic effects of participating in a military conflict often result in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)-- a condition that many veterans try to hide.
Post traumatic stress disorder is a disorder that can develop after an individual has experienced, witnessed or been repeatedly exposed to a major trauma. Dr. Stebliuk's book, entitled «Синдром АТО» (The Anti-Terrorist Operation Syndrome) is his harrowing eye-witness account of the death of innocent civilians which Stebliuk, a pathologist, treated during the Maidan protests and chronicles his subsequent voluntary deployment to eastern Ukraine where, as a military medic, he survived the August 2014 massacre of Ukrainian soldiers at Ilovaysk, at the hands of Russian troops.
Dr. Stebliuk, former medical advisor to Ukraine's Minister of Defense, wrote the book as a form of therapy to deal with the flashbacks and personal trauma that haunted him after surviving the bloody massacre carried out by the Russians in Ilovaysk.
Stebliuk has given a number of nationwide television interviews in Ukraine discussing his book and the consequences of the battle at Ilovaysk. Ukrainian-language viewers are invited to watch his appearance on a recent episode of EspresoTV by clicking this link.
According to Stebliuk, the tragedy at Ilovaysk was a seminal moment in Ukrainian history. He believes that, as horrible as the massacre was, it revealed great acts of heroism shown by Ukrainian soldiers. Moreover, he views Ilovaysk as a turning point in Ukraine's post-Soviet history, because the episode shattered any illusions that Ukrainians may have felt towards Russia as a trustworthy or peace-loving neighbour. According to Stebliuk, the events at Ilovaysk cemented Ukraine's westward course and boosted the Ukrainian people's pro-NATO stance.
Dr. Stebliuk's book «Синдром АТО» (The ATO Syndrome), is currently only available in the Ukrainian version and can be purchased online by clicking here.
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Recently, Medal of Freedom recipient and National Hero of Ukraine, Col. Dr. Vsevolod Stebliuk, confronted his personal battle with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), by authoring a book examining critical moments in his life and impacting both his physical and mental health. The Kyiv book launch took place at the Ukrainian Officers' Association building on Hrushevsky street.