Gay on the front line in Ukraine: “we’ve been through hell”

After weeks of intense fighting on the front line, gay Ukrainian soldier Viktor Pylypenko has today spoken of the ‘hell’ he and his fellow troops experienced during battle in Luhansk.
Viktor Pylypenko is a gay soldier on the front line in Ukraine

Warning This report contains graphic content and descriptions of war

After weeks of intense fighting on the front line, gay Ukrainian soldier Viktor Pylypenko has today spoken of the ‘hell’ he and his fellow troops experienced during battle in Luhansk.

Viktor lived a peaceful life raising awareness of gay rights issues in Ukraine until Russia invaded in February. Now he’s on the front line of a war, dodging Russian forces who may be out to capture and kill him.

Viktor’s hand, covered in blood

Treasure Island Media has kept in communication with Viktor to help document his experiences of war as he and other brave gay men fulfil their duties to defend their country.

The 35-year-old was unreachable for more than 21 days during a brutal period of heavy fighting.

Viktor, who serves as an infantryman and medic, had been caught up in intense combat in the hot spot of Luhansk.

“We went through hell these previous weeks,” Viktor said. “[We] lost many guys, killed many Russians. I participated in close combat, shooting five Russians and burning their cover with two RPG shots.

“I gave aid to many guys under heavy shelling and tank firings, helped with their evacuation, and evacuated dead corpses of our guys.

I think they tortured him. I can’t imagine what they will [do] with me if they capture me.

Viktor Pylypenko

“That is the most horrible work on the battlefield. Corpses were laying under the sun and heat for days… all in flies and worms. Others were burnt. One of the corpses fell and its skull broke open. The smell was on my arms for a long time.”

Russia currently aims to occupy the Ukrainian territories of Donetsk and Luhansk to help its ambition of occupying southern Ukraine. But while Russian forces are learning lessons from the early days of war, things are still not going according to plan for the Kremlin.

“Russians are weak in battles,” Viktor adds. “They use them as cannon meat. They don’t even have proper helmets, only tin ones.

“But their artillery is quite effective. Their tactic is ruining everything with bombs, missiles and shells. We really need long-range artillery, the more the better. And counter-artillery systems.”

Viktor Pylypenko serves as an infantryman and medic

Viktor’s position as a prominent gay rights activist makes him a target for the enemy forces. US officials have previously warned that Russia has compiled a ‘hit list’ of people like Viktor they want captured or killed.

“Regarding being gay on the front, guys are very inclusive and supportive,” he says.

“On the contrary, Russian media showed a Ukrainian captive. He was forced to say on camera he belongs to ‘unicorn pederast fighters’ and that his commander “fucked him under the tail”. I think they tortured him. It was obvious he was told to say it. I can’t imagine what they will [do] with me if they capture me.”

As the weeks of this war wear on, TIM News continues to learn of more stories of brave gay men fighting for the sanctity of their sovereign nation. But for them it’s also a fight to the death against a homophobic regime for their right to live their lives as gay men.



We’ve launched a new line of TIM gear in support of gay soldiers fighting in Ukraine – with 100% of profits going directly to the front line.

Gay Ukrainian soldiers wear a secret symbol into battle to help identify themselves to other gay soldiers – and they’ve agreed to let us share their secret emblem with you.

They helped design these limited edition shirts and hoodies for you to wear and they bear the soldiers’ special symbol. 100% of the profits from the sales of these items will be donated to the gay military group, and will be used to purchase medical supplies for the troops.

These brave gay men are not just battling for the freedom of their country. They’re also in a fight to the death against a homophobic regime for the right to live freely as men who love men.

On that front, they fight for all of us – and they need your support. So please grab your limited edition TIM Ukraine gear now and support these gay heroes.

Warning This report contains graphic descriptions of injury

Warning This report contains graphic descriptions of injury

2 comments
  1. Thanks Paul! I appreciate you so much! I admire you also because you are still in the trenches like a good soldier fighting for the freedoms I have taken for granted and that could be taken away with the click of a pen instead of a rocket hitting a building!! Keep up the good fight. Let’s bring this soldier to the USA when he is done. And let me know how I can help achieve winning this war!

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