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Seriously injured Ukrainian soldier learning to live life from a 'new beginning' at Brooks Rehabilitation in Jacksonville

Maksym Slipits lost his right leg and is paralyzed from the waist down while fighting Russian forces in the occupied Donetsk region in April.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The blue-eyed stare of Maksym Slipits welcomes a new challenge. 

Every second and every movement is a test. 

"I started to learn again to get up and even put my clothes on so it's all the process of how you basically start the life from a new beginning," Slipits said through a translator. 

Slipits served in the Ukrainian Armed Forces. In April he was fighting in the Russian occupied Donetsk region.

His unit took heavy artillery every day, one moment he was fighting on the front line, the next he was staring at his pelvis, his right leg blown off.

"I want you to understand everybody every military who is at the war actually mentally understand and ready it can happen with him or her." Slipits said. 

Slipits recovered in Ukraine for seven months before coming to Florida through the non-profit Revived Soldiers Ukraine, where he is receiving state-of-the-art care five hours a day for 10 weeks at Brooks Rehabilition in Jacksonville. 

Slipits' doctors say he will probably never be able to walk again.

As he rehabs with his wife and son, the metal fragments up against flesh and bone serve as a cold reminder of the horrors of war.

"You need to understand when the Russian army is coming to those villages, towns, they just destroy everything in their way. Ukrainians are very brave, and they know and feel those circumstances, but they are very brave to protect their homeland." Slipits said. 

The veteran says he wants to return to Ukraine once he finishes his rehab in Jacksonville.

If you would like to donate to Slipits rehabilitation, click here.


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