While covering the war in Ukraine from within the country, journalist Dylan Burns met a Ukrainian priest who volunteers as a medic and refuses to use any weapons.
The Ukrainian priest, medic volunteer who doesn’t use weapons
This photo was taken by Dylan Burns, a 21 year old American journalist who has been living in Ukraine for the past months. It shows a Ukrainian priest who volunteers as a medic and refuses to use weapons for religious reasons.
While in the Donbass (Donetsk) I met a priest who does not use guns because it goes against his faith, but he still volunteered to help Ukraine as a medic to save lives
Here he is talking about how he uses his bullet proof shield to retrieve the wounded under fire pic.twitter.com/6gJL1m9MWJ
— Dylan Burns 🇺🇦🏳️🌈 (@DylanBurns1776) July 27, 2022
Can medics carry weapons?
According to the Geneva Convention, medics are allowed to carry a “light individual weapon“. In fact, this is the case if the weapon is to be used in “self defense or in defense of [the medic’s] sick and wounded.”
As such, this Ukrainian medic would be within his rights to carry a weapon, to at least protect himself and the people that he is rescuing and caring for. However, as the tweet above describes, the man only uses his bulletproof shield to retrieve wounded soldiers from battlefields.
Although the tweet briefly describes the man, Dylan describes his experience with the Ukrainian medic in a Patreon post from August 15. In it, he writes, in part, that he has been working as a weaponless medic in the Donbass region since 2014, well before the start of the war.
According to the post, the man talked to Dylan extensively about his experience as a medic. If you want to learn more, I would encourage checking out the Patreon post for yourself.
Dylan Burn’s reporting from Ukraine
Dylan was first planning to go to Poland in April, after the start of the war in Ukraine. However, one thing led to another, and he is currently still in Ukraine. He travels with Ukrainians, often coming close to the front lines. Recently, he and the group he was with got shelled by the Russian military while leaving a restaurant in a civilian area.
On August 29th (at 3:19 p.m.) shortly after the start of the Ukrainian Kherson counter offensive, me and my crew were exiting a restaurant in Mykolaiv after filming. That's when Russian artillery started to pound the city center, specifically civilian areas.
This is a war crime pic.twitter.com/heH77MyacH
— Dylan Burns 🇺🇦🏳️🌈 (@DylanBurns1776) September 1, 2022
On top of updating his Patreon, used to finance his ongoing project of showing the realities of the war in Ukraine, he also posts updates on Twitter and Youtube. For example, the video below shows the time that he and his group was spotted by a Russian Drone.