Nearly 50 crew members from the anti-submarine corvette Ternopil are undergoing rehabilitation at a resort in Ternopil region. Let us recall that the region has taken patronage over the crew and now invited them to come there to have moral support in difficult times. These sailors have never been to Ternopil before. As native of Zhytomyr region Senior Midshipman Vasyl Tymoshchuk said during a meeting with the region’s and city’s leadership in Ternopil City Hall on April 6, they appreciated the warmth and hospitality extended by locals and could not even imagine anything better after what they had gone through. “You are our heroes as much as heroes of the Euromaidan, the Revolution of Dignity. Ternopil residents watched events in Crimea and rooted for each of you,” the head of the Ternopil Oblast State Administration Oleh Syrotiuk stressed.
Assistant commander of the Ternopil Lieutenant Commander Oleksii Kyrylov handed for temporary storage the ship’s emblem with its coat of arms, military flags, one of which was made by Ternopil residents themselves for their “clients,” as well as a symbolic relic, likes of which are kept on all vessels: a shard of champagne bottle, once broken over the corvette’s bow on the day of its launching as a promise of a happy voyage. “The flag, with which the corvette sailed for thousands of miles and participated in international exercises, flied at the top of its mast to the last day, until they have stolen the ship, because it was, quite literally, a pirate action,” the captain remarked. Ternopil City Council secretary Ihor Tursky said that symbols of the ship would be placed in the Corvette Museum in Ternopil.
By the way, Lieutenant Commander Kyrylov is a native of Donetsk and lived in Sevastopol for 25 years. He and his fellow crew members, among them natives of Crimea, have moved to the mainland Ukraine. “Only 10 of us stayed behind in Crimea, they are those who defected to the Russian Federation,” Kyrylov told The Day. “The rest are now scattered throughout Ukraine. There was a very strong moral pressure on our people. We were also influenced by the difficult financial situation because PrivatBank through which we received salaries had ceased operations in Crimea. Now we plan to gather those still loyal to us. We will ask the national leadership to allow us to continue serving together.” Remembering the difficult moments, Lieutenant Commander Kyrylov said that in the early days of the blockade the Ternopil could still break out. But on the orders of the then commander of the Ukrainian Navy Denys Berezovsky, the ship was moored, and it was not able to break out of the encirclement next day. “It is hard to explain to ordinary people what the ship and its crew are. It is, so to speak, the snail and its shell. We have a shell-less snail now. Therefore, not only me, but all of us are having it very hard, because the ship was not only our service station, but also the place for us to experience good and bad times as one large family,” Lieutenant Commander Kyrylov remarked.
Ternopil’s Teatralna Square, the city’s main square, hosted the unity rally, where the city’s residents welcomed the corvette’s crew with bread and salt, loud applause, and chants “Well done.” The residents were with the sailors both on April 6 and during the siege when they conveyed material assistance and provided moral support to them. So, if someone harbored any doubts about the benevolence of western Ukrainians, now they have vanished completely.