Borna (Saxony) – He still has shrapnel from grenades in his head. But Steve Meiling (42) can laugh again. The fireman from Borna survived two weeks of war in Ukraine! On Thursday he spoke in his hometown for the first time about the dramatic rescue mission from which he had to be rescued himself in the end.
Flashback: On the night of February 24, Meiling was working the night shift at the BMW plant when the Russians fired the first rockets at Ukrainian territory. Only hours later he set off to rescue his Anna (33) from Kyiv. He had only married her in January and was suddenly stuck with her son Sascha (13) after the start of the war because of a language course for a new visa.
Steve Meiling reports: “200 kilometers from my destination, I suddenly saw the war. Black clouds of smoke were in the sky, soldiers and tanks were in the streets.” Just 28 kilometers from Kyiv, he came under fire in Borodyanka. “Two grenades fell next to my car. I ended up in the ditch, hardly heard anything.”
Bleeding, he wandered through a forest to a residential area. “At the first house there was a woman who treated me immediately.”
An ambulance took him to a clinic for first aid for his severe head injuries. “But you never felt safe. Everything was bombed. So I had to be accommodated elsewhere.”
Contact with Anna and also with the mayor of Borna, Simone Luedtke (50, left) broke off. She drove off with firefighters to help him. But it was only two weeks after Meiling left that he could finally be taken to Poland, as could Anna and her son Sascha.
“When I met her again, tears of joy shed. Now her mother, aunt, sister and their son also live with us. But we can’t settle down.” Also because her grandparents are still in the war zone.
He now had to live with a few splinters, including one in his right eye, and had his lead levels checked regularly. But he is no longer in pain.