War in Ukraine

‘All you’re thinking about is staying alive’ – a Ukrainian fighter returns home to Ireland

Last March, Stanislav Lapko left his home in Tallanstown, Co Louth to fight in the war against Russia. After three months, he returned to Ireland thankful to be alive, but haunted by the harrowing things he witnessed

Stanislav Lapko returned home to Tallanstown, Co Louth, after three months fighting in Ukraine. Picture: Ken Finegan/Newspics.ie

Starved, scared and perishingly cold, Stanislav Lapko huddled deep in his combats and pushed his freezing torso further into the dirt.

“In that moment, all you’re thinking about is staying alive. End of the day, to be alive, have a little food, a little bit of shelter, that’s all you want.”

It was March and, as Lapko explained, he was buried in a trench outside Kyiv, hiding from Russian troops intent on engineering his destruction. ...