MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - It’s been a long journey for a group of Ukrainian soldiers that arrived in Minnesota this weekend. The five soldiers lost their legs while fighting for their homeland, and now they're in the process of recovering at Minneapolis’ Limb Lab.
"We are very thankful to be able to come here and get our limb," soldier Denis Skotnikov told FOX 9.
Limb Lab senior practitioner Yakov Gradinar is taking care of the group; he worked to create their new artificial limbs on Sunday, "For me to be able to help those soldiers who lost their limbs fighting for my country, fighting for my family’s safety, is really touching and excited," Gradinar said.
Denis Skotnikov lost his leg during tank and artillery fire on Mar. 22; and while he says he could’ve gotten a prosthetic in Ukraine, he explained that their health system is overwhelmed, and the care he’s receiving in America is more advanced.
"We are very thankful for everything that they’re doing because we kind of lost hope that we’re not going to get anywhere, [that] this is going to be like the end of the line for us," Skotnikov said.
Limb Lab’s team volunteered its time, without pay on Sunday, to get the job done for the grateful soldiers.
"Multiple times I was told that they cannot believe that they are getting fitted," Gradinar said afterwards.
"It’s unbelievable that we’re actually going to be [leaving] today with a prosthetic leg," Denis Skotnikov continued.
The supplies and parts used to make it all happen were donated by Ottobock.