People story


Denys, father of deported Pasha

Denys Derevyanko, born 1980.

From Kupiansk, Kharkiv region.

Before the full-scale war worked as a system administrator at Stoer, LLC.


From the first days of the full-scale Russia’s war till the beginning of Ukraine’s Fall counteroffensive, Denys stayed with his family in Kupiansk. His wife, Yevheniia Derevyanko, and his son, 10 y.o. Pasha traveled to Kupiansk-Vuzlovy, to visit grandmother. In late September, Kupiansk was liberated by the Ukrainian Armed Forces immediately, but Kupiansk-Vuzlovy remained under Russian control. Yevheniia with Pasha got separated from Denys by a war zone border.

On September 25, 2022, Yevheniia and Pasha together with other residents of Kupians-Vuzlovy traveled in a motorcade heading to Russia. It was the only way to escape the city. Yevheniia with Pasha then planned to escape from Russia to Europe. They managed to go only 4 km from Kupiansk-Vuzlovy and Russian troops shelled the whole motorcade. Only 7 people out of 40 survived. Yevheniia died on the spot. Pasha received a shrapnel wound in his knee. He and the surviving people were taken by the Russian troops. 

Once Denys’ friend sent him a video with Pasha on Russian TV. It was a program about the evacuation motorcade from Kupiansk. After the shelling, Russian troops took Pasha and forcibly deported him to the temporarily occupied Luhansk region. He was placed in a hospital there.

Denys’ mother in law with a notarial power of attorney from Denys traveled from Ukraine through Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Russia to Luhansk. She found the hospital and Pasha. They spent a month in that hospital, then a month in another rehabilitation center in Krasnodar, Russia. The mother in law was advised by the Russian government to take Russian citizenship to receive a flat and money. She refused. After the rehabilitation, she and Pasha traveled through Russia, crossed the border with the Baltic States and ended up settling in the Czech Republic.

The boy is now safe, but he survived the horrors of shelling, witnessing his mother’s death, and deportation.


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