Espreso. Global

In memory of Ivan Rotar, call sign Milan, who was hunted by Russian troops

9 May, 2023 Tuesday

Ivan Rotar, a soldier of the 67th separate mechanized battalion Da Vinci's Wolves, Moldovan by nationality but Ukrainian by spirit, came from Italy to defend Ukraine. His comrades-in-arms, who called him Friend Milan, say that when they were still fighting as a volunteers, Milan used his own money to keep the unit functioning

Espreso TV tells the story of the fallen Ukrainian defender, whose death will soon mark 40 days. Ivan Rotar was killed on April 5 in a heavy battle in the Donetsk region. At the frontline, Russian troops were hunting for him, as he was responsible for many destroyed Russian units and hundreds of saved lives of Ukrainian soldiers. Ivan is survived by two young daughters.

The best fighter of the entire unit, for which he was one of the first to receive American weapons

Ivan Rotar is from the village of Kostychany, Bukovyna. He voluntarily left Milan and joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine.  He was an aerial reconnaissance man. 

According to Ivan's comrade-in-arms, war veteran and Right Sector fighter Mykola Heheliuk, Ivan was among the first to join the training, even though he was ready for war.

"As soon as our 16th Reserve Hundred "Bukovyna" organized the recruitment and training of volunteers, he was one of the first to come to Ukraine to defend it. He did not just come, he was ready for war. He brought his Italian uniform with him, in which he went on combat missions. When at the beginning we were not yet formalized, but were volunteers, Milan used his money to keep the unit functioning," said his brother-in-arms.

He was praised as the best soldier in the unit, and was one of the first to receive the best American weapon. For his diligence and tirelessness, his superiors awarded him a Makarov pistol, despite the fact that this weapon is only given to officers.

"He was a fighter who didn't need to be asked, he was looking for work, looking for tasks. He was highly intelligent. Sitting on the Internet, he learned how to control drones. He caused irreparable damage to the enemy, destroying dozens of enemy vehicles and manpower. Thanks to this, the enemy's advance in the Bakhmut direction was restrained. Milan directly discovered and destroyed the enemy column. This made it possible to move to the Kharkiv counter-offensive operation, and now, largely thanks to friend Milan, people in the Kharkiv region can be free," added Heheliuk.

Milan was the eyes of the unit. He adjusted the work of the assault groups when Russian troops retreated, snapping back. According to the "Da Vinci Wolves" of the 16th Bukovyna Rifle Brigade, he was mercilessly eliminating Russia’s invading forces in the Donetsk region, which is why enemies were hunting for him at the frontline. 


The Moscow Patriarchate did not allow to hold the funeral service for the hero

The hunt for him did not stop after his death. During the funeral in his native village of Kostychany, representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate did not immediately allow the funeral service for the soldier to be held in the church. 

Serhiy Danyliuk, a priest of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (Kyiv Patriarchate), said that the day before they had agreed with the church leadership on an unhindered farewell to the Hero of Ukraine.

"The day before, we agreed with the local parish priest on the expediency of the funeral service for the fallen Hero in the church of his native village of Kostychany, where he was baptized. For their part, the priests of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and officers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine gave their word that no action would be taken to change the jurisdictional affiliation of the church. The young men blocked the entrance to the church and did not allow the chaplains to perform the funeral service for the fallen hero in the middle of the church. The local priest, Father Aurel, was not at the forefront of this movement. We managed to find an understanding and, with their consent, to perform the funeral service," the clergyman recalls.

The warrior Ivan knew history well, said another Bukovyna priest of the OCU, Roman Hryshchuk, and therefore knew for sure that the war had been going on for many years. 

"Despite the fact that he grew up in this Bukovyna village, where people usually speak Moldovan, despite the fact that Moldovan is his native language, Ivan was a sincere patriot of Ukraine. He knew very well that he and his family would be able to live well only if they did not fall under Russian occupation."

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