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Soldier injured while fighting in Ukraine receiving treatment in New York

Soldier injured while fighting in Ukraine receiving treatment in N.Y.
Soldier injured while fighting in Ukraine receiving treatment in N.Y. 02:08

NEW YORK -- As we mark one year since Russia's deadly invasion of Ukraine, a soldier who was severely injured while fighting in the war is receiving treatment from New York doctors.

In October, a car Vladyslav Orlov was driving was struck by Russian forces, mangling his legs.

"From artillery or tank. I don't know exactly," Orlov said.  

"How do you feel?" CBS2's Tim McNicholas asked.

"I feel very bad," Orlov said, laughing.

One reason he can laugh through his pain -- his girlfriend, Ashley Matkowsky, is by his side.

"He's undergone a few surgeries at this point, maybe three or so," she said.

Matkowsky is a New Yorker who met Orlov while working on a documentary about the war in Ukraine.

READ MORE: Ukrainian soldier arrives in New York City to undergo surgery on legs wounded in war

CBS2 first met the couple when they arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport in January, where Orlov explained the struggle to get the surgeries he needed back home.

"We have a lot of wounded guys who need help, and they are working hard and they really don't have enough space for everybody," he said at the time.

So Matkowsky got in touch with a man named Gary Wasserson, who's been doing humanitarian work for Ukrainian people.

He not only helped get the couple to United States but connected them with doctors at the Hospital for Special Surgery, who agreed to treat Orlov.

"I have a very simple concept that I treat people exactly the way I hope they would treat me," Wasserson said.

Prior to Orlov's surgeries, the couple even found time to explore New York a bit. They keep each other's spirits up however they can, as they continue to hear news of heartbreaking loss in Ukraine.

"Every month, every week, our friends die," Orlov said.

"This should be an eye-opener that this has been going on for an entire year," Matkowsky said.

Orlov says those tragic updates on his friends motivate him in his recovery; he wants to return to Ukraine.

Once he recovers from his most recent surgery, he plans to start physical therapy with a goal of eventually walking again.

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