There is a cost to war – to the countries that wage it, to the soldiers who fight it, to the civilians who endure it. For nations, territory is gained and lost, and sometimes regained and lost again. But some losses are permanent. Lives lost can never be regained. Nor can limbs.
And so it is in Ukraine.
The stories of people who undergo amputations during the conflict are as varied as their wounds, as are their journeys of reconciliation with their injuries. For some, losing a part of their body can be akin to a death of sorts; coming to terms with it is a type of rebirth.
For soldiers wounded while defending their country, their sense of purpose and belief in the cause they were fighting for can sometimes help them cope psychologically with amputation. For some civilians, maimed while going about their lives in a war that already terrified them, the struggle can be much harder.
For the men, women and children who have lost limbs in the war in Ukraine, now in its third month, that journey is just beginning.