VIDEO: Ukrainian nurse who lost both legs in war shares first dance with husband

LVIV, UKRAINE (CBS) — In a hospital ward in Lviv, newlyweds Oksana Balandina and Viktor Vasyliv, are finally sharing their first wedding dance.

For the couple, both 23 years old, this is a moment that almost never happened.

On March 27, a little over a month after Russia invaded Ukraine, as the couple was walking home in Lysychansk in Ukraine’s Luhansk region, Balandina stumbled upon an unexploded mine.

“I only managed to shout to him: “Honey, look!” He looked at me when the mine exploded. I fell down with my face on the ground. There was an extreme noise in my head. Then I turned around and I started to tear off clothing on me. I thought it would be easier to breathe because there was not enough air for me,” Balandina recalled.

Vasyliv, who was walking behind her, was unhurt.

“When it happened, it felt like a minute to me. She was wounded. If it was not for Oksana, I don’t know what would happen. She is so strong. She did not faint. It was Oksana who coordinated our actions. When it happened, I gave up in despair, I did not know what to do. I saw her not moving,” Vasyliv said.

What happened next was a month-long stay in various hospitals as doctors tried to treat her while some areas in the country were under heavy shelling and attack from the Russians.

In the end, doctors had to amputate both of her legs and four fingers in her left hand.

She said she spent many of those days in a dark place.

“I did not want to live, I asked… I didn’t want to live such life, I have two children. I didn’t want them to see me like this. I did not want to be a burden for anyone in my family,” Balandina said.

“But thanks to the support, I accepted it. I need to keep living. It is not the end of the life. If the God left me alive, that’s my destiny.”

The two children – a 7-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter – are now safe with their grandparents in the Poltava region in central Ukraine.

After the wedding, the couple are hoping to travel to Germany where Balandina will get proper prosthetic legs and undergo much-needed rehabilitation.

The road ahead is long and with no sight of a long-lasting peace in Ukraine, Balandina says she can only focus on the here and now.

“I want to go back to our town, to Lysychansk, but frankly speaking, I am worried for my children. When the war is over, there will be so many things happening. The road was mined… It is scary. I don’t know, we have not thought about it. The main goal is prosthetic care and getting back on my feet,” she said.

And for Vasyliv, he’s grateful for each day that he shares with his new wife.

“I was afraid to lose her. I wanted to cry, but I could not cry. I was shocked, I could not comprehend that it was happening indeed. It was terrifying to lose the person I love,” he said.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs called Ukraine the most mine-contaminated countries in the world.

Categories: DISTRACTION, World
Ukraine Nurse
Newlyweds Oksana Balandina and Viktor Vasyliv, are sharing their first wedding dance in May 2022 (Photo: CBS News/ REUTERS)