The greatest of loves

In 2014 ‘Cheka’ Tsybukh was 16 years old when she first volunteered as a medic in eastern Ukraine helping those being wounded in the fight against Russian aggression. She served for three years but returned again in 2022 after the full-scale invasion. She still had her whole life before her but was quoted as saying, ‘I want children, I want a house. I want to plant tomatoes… but the most important thing right now is to end the war’. She repeatedly risked her own life to save others and, in the end, paid the ultimate price. She was killed on 29th May 2024 near Kharkiv, just three days before her 26th birthday.

Her self-sacrifice points us to the example of Jesus who came ‘not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’, and the exhortation of St Paul that we should look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others. Like ‘Cheka’ many thousands have already laid down their lives to preserve the freedom of others and many more will do so in the coming days, weeks and months. It just goes to show what people will do for those they love.

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