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'We still have each other's back': Mayfield dentist fights to bring wounded Ukrainian brother to the US

A land mine forced doctors to amputate the leg of Taras Pastouk. His brother Vladimir says if he's brought to the United States, surgeons can save the other one.

BEACHWOOD, Ohio — War is hell.

Its impact is wherever the bombs fall and bullets strike, and beyond, even thousands of miles away.

Greater Cleveland dentist Vladimir Pastouk suffers, too. His ancestral country is in the grips of an invading Russian army.

When last we talked to Pastouk, he had just returned from a Ukraine visit, having gotten out the day the Russian Army swept in. He brought with him a photograph of relatives. In military uniform, brother Taras was gearing up to fight Russians.

Since the photograph, Taras drove over a land mine.

"Unfortunately, one of his legs, they amputated," Pastouk said.

While one brother stands in his Greater Cleveland dental office, another brother cannot yet stand. Taras could face the loss of a second leg if doctors cannot stop an infection.

"He just had the latest surgery, which when counted, its somewhere in the area of 25 surgeries total he had," Pastouk shared.

Every day, the brothers connect by phone. The plan is for Taras to come to United States for better treatment here, but there can be no travel now because doctors in Europe must first halt the troubling infection.

War on the battle line touches families both up close and far away.
In spite of it all, both brothers understand the strength of the Ukrainian people, wherever they are.

In Cleveland, Dr. Pastouk is part of the effort sending necessary supplies to Ukraine, realizing each person is indeed a brother's and sister's keeper.

"They are fighting for the mothers, fathers, wives, parents kids," he said. "Regardless of where we live, we still have each other's back."

War, wherever and however it comes to a nation, always catches in the middle, the family bloodline. Call the bloodline the tie that binds. The Ukrainian garden of the Cleveland cultural gardens is a bloodline, of sorts, tied to the nation it represents 5,000 miles away.

Yes, Ukraine holds on, just as one brother holds on to another.

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