“It am very pleased to meet you today and I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to thank you for the principled position, the feat, the power of spirit you demonstrated in 2014 and 2015. And until 2016, when you were a hostage and faced tortures,” Petro Poroshenko stressed.
The Head of State emphasized the importance of the extremely principled position of Volodymyr Zhemchugov regarding the restoration of Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence.
“The whole country must know you and your story. You are a true Hero of Ukraine. The future generation of Ukrainian patriots must be raised on your example,” the Head of State noted.
The President also said that he would instruct the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to involve Volodymyr Zhemchugov in the international trips more actively so that he would be able to communicate the truth about what he had endured.
"This will be the best weapon against the Russian hybrid war, a significant part of which is propaganda. That is why your position, words, and experience will be an extremely important contribution to our victory, which will surely come true. And the release of Donetsk, and the liberation of Luhansk," Petro Poroshenko said.
Petro Poroshenko wished peace and love to the new home of the family. The President also noted that Volodymyr Zhemchugov would continue having assistance in the treatment.
In his turn, Volodymyr Zhemchugov thanked the President for the apartment: "Thank you for fulfilling your promise. You, as Supreme Commander-in-Chief, as President, kept your word". The hero also thanked for supporting and helping him all the time.
Volodymyr Zhemchugov also noted that he was often asked by journalists about how he had gone to fight for Ukraine, having left his peaceful life, having lost his health, property, apartment. "I answer them: the most important thing is that I have not lost Ukraine," he said, noting that he is an ethnic Russian, but he had deliberately made the choice to remain in Ukraine in 1991.
"I want Ukraine to live well. That is why I went to war," the Hero said.
Olena Zhemchugova also thanked the President for his support and assistance. "We are very grateful to you, because all this year we felt the support," she said. The family invited the President to the housewarming.
The 45-year Volodymyr Zhemchugov was detained by the militants in Luhansk region in November 2015. He was accused of blowing up the railroad tracks and transmission tower near Luhansk. In fact, Zhemchugov walked on a booby trap, which took his sight and both his arms. After that, he tried to commit suicide but turned attention of pro-Russian militants who took him in. The man was released from the militant captivity on September 17th and was sent to Cologne for treatment.