Oleksii Kukoba is a military officer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and a former investigative journalist.

Over the last 18 months, Oleksii managed to serve as a military medic and marksman of the guard company, started creating video content for the army, got married via Zoom right at the position of the unit and became a student of the Kyiv School of Economics!

And his military career began with the desire to become a scout, Oleksii says – he came to the Military Commissariat with his own drone:

“On the 24th, I didn’t hesitate for a long time, I bought all the equipment in a store that unexpectedly for me worked that day. And immediately went to the Military Commissariat along with the drone he had bought a long time ago. But I didn’t join the scouts, instead started serving as a military medic – learned everything on the go.”

At the Kyiv School of Economics, Oleksii enrolled in “Urban Planning and Postwar Reconstruction” – this is one of the new master’s studies at KSE. Military officer received an educational scholarship for all academic years thanks to the benefactors of the KSE Foundation.

“I continue to serve, now I specialize in creating video content for the Armed Forces, and I can combine it with offline studies at the Kyiv School of Economics. I am very glad that I managed to get a grant and start studying a specialization that is valuable today – it is post-war reconstruction and various aspects of the functioning of cities and the lives of people in them. Because our journey will not end with victory, we still have a lot to do for the development of Ukraine,” – says Oleksii.

The soldier spent the first weeks of the full-scale invasion on the first line in front of the enemy – his unit was on duty at checkpoints, defending the Kyiv region. Six months later, Oleksii was transferred, and he began to professionally create video content for the Armed Forces: together with the team, he travels to areas of the front along the entire contact line and films the stories of Ukrainian soldiers.

The purpose of this work is to show the whole world the extraordinary heroism and devotion of our military personnel. And also to prove to the defenders on the front line that they are known and not forgotten in the rear, says Oleksii.

“At the beginning of the big war, there was a battle for one village in the Chernihiv region. Our military personnel knew that the russians were preparing an attack on them in the morning. At night, the commander gathered the men and offered them a choice: either go and try to storm the russian units, or repel the attack. At that time, there were ten russians for one Ukrainian soldier, but as a result, 15 people gathered, who had only two tanks. And our soldiers started the assault first, at four o’clock in the morning, while the russians were planning an assault around 6 o’clock. The russians retreated, and this unit that night made a springboard for the liberation of the entire Chernihiv region,” – Oleksii Kukoba shares one of the stories he recorded.

The 24th of February was not only a day of mobilization for the military man – on this day, under enemy fire in Kyiv, Oleksii got engaged. Oksana sent him an SMS from the car during the evacuation to Cherkasy: “I want to be your wife.” And he answered: “Do you agree to become my wife?”

A month and a half later, on the 6th of April, the commander of the unit held a Zoom ceremony for the couple – about 60 friends and acquaintances of the bride and groom joined the online call. Oksana has been in Poland, wearing a white wedding dress. And Oleksii – at the position of his unit near the lake, with a festive butterfly over his military uniform.

“The official part lasted about 10-15 minutes. The commander checked our passports, said words of welcome, and then pronounced us husband and wife. My brothers sang Mendelssohn’s march for us, and we even recorded a wedding video, which I will edit one day,” – says Oleksii.

The team of the Kyiv School of Economics is happy to welcome Oleksii among our students!

The scholarship program for obtaining the desired higher education for servicemen, their children, children of fallen soldiers and IDPs exists thanks to the benefactors of the KSE Foundation. Make a contribution for the provision of training grants: https://foundation.kse.ua/en/?form=FUNDALUZUGZ (select the option TalentPRO/ Scholarships for War-Affected)

KSE Foundation works daily to support people and the development of an innovative Ukraine through education, thanks to contributors and partners.