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Oleksandr Teren

The 26-year-old designer lost his legs in the war against Russia. Now he is preparing for the Invictus Games, writing a book and joking about himself on TikTok.


After 24 February, Oleksandr 'Teren' Budko joined the Ukrainian Armed Forces without any combat experience and fought near Izium. During the liberation of Kharkiv region, he lost both his legs. Now he continues to adapt to walking with prostheses and is undergoing rehabilitation in the United States. This is the story of an indomitable defender of Ukraine.

Oleksandr's unit held the line of defence in the village of Vernopillia, Kharkiv region. The guy was the commander of a mortar team. During his service, his unit managed to repel 7 enemy attacks. Gradually, the Ukrainian army launched a large-scale counter-offensive. It was Independence Day. Teren and his comrades moved their position to a neighbouring village, moving towards Izium.

Oleksandr lay down to rest in a trench. The sun was shining in his face, and he decided to turn to the other side, where there was more shade. A moment later, a Russian shell hits the trench.

Teren recalls that there were no air raids in his village that day. And that all his comrades, fortunately, remained unharmed. It hit exactly where he was. "It was unlikely to be a drone strike because too much of the ground was turned upside down after the explosion. We didn't hear a sound. A second and then the explosion.

The guy was evacuated to the frontline area, to the emergency surgery department. It was 15 kilometres away from the village where Oleksandr was. Then he was transferred to Kharkiv, where he stayed for several days. There they only did bandages without surgery. After Kharkiv, Teren was taken to a hospital in Poltava.

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