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- Where is my wedding dress? - Body armor is your dress!

The story of Anastasiia and Roman, police officers from Hostomel


They were the first police officers to get married after February 24

The 137th day of the war, Sunday


“My name is Anastasiia. I am a patrol police officer in Kyiv. My rank is police lieutenant. I am an officer at last. Just a few months before the war, I was promoted to lieutenant.”


“It is a tradition for our family to work in the police. My father served in the traffic police. He was a police captain at the time. He went through the whole career path. One day we were talking (there were ‘militsia’ and ‘police’ appeared later). He asked me: “Don’t you want to serve in the traffic police?” I said: “Why not?”


When we started talking about going to college, my mom said: “No, I won’t have another cop in my family”. I answered: “Okay. No problem. You can choose. Wherever you choose, I’ll go.”


That’s how I became a kindergarten teacher. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree. Then I entered the Patrol Police Academy for my Master’s degree. I did it in secret so that my mom didn’t know.”


“Oh, my! Tell me you’ll quit in a year or transfer somewhere. I beg you. That’s not what you need!”


Yeah, sure. I have been working for three years now.


I met Roma at work. My husband is a police platoon commander. Now he’s my husband. We work in the same battalion but in different companies. I am in the Podilskyi district and he is in the Shevchenkivskyi district.


“You’ll be on duty with the redhead”

Sometimes it happens to us: when we don’t have enough people to patrol, we get people from other companies. It happened to me, too - I had no partner because last year there was a pandemic, and many people were sick. I was told that Roman Romashchenko would be patrolling with me tomorrow.


- Who is he?

- A guy from the Shevchenkivskyi district.

- And is he normal?

- He seems to be normal.

- Well, if he’s normal, then fine with me.


It was our night shift. We were in a police car together. We drove in silence. I asked him once: “Tell me something about yourself! We work together, I have to protect you if something goes wrong, or you have to protect me, and I don’t even know your name. Maybe we can talk, huh?”


We went for coffee. He got relaxed.

Then he started talking: “How old are you?”

I said: “I’m 24. And you?”

“Hmm. You’re so young,” he replied.

That’s how we talked the first night.


And in the morning, we received a tough call. A man was beaten and taken away by an ambulance. We got into real trouble because there were a lot of drunk men there. Of course, we didn’t go into that crowd by ourselves, but gathered the staff of our Podilskyi district and started a mass arrest.


It was such an adrenaline rush! And all the time I looked for my partner with my eyes. And when I didn’t find him, I started to freak out, because we are responsible for each other. In the end, everything ended well, and we brought four men to the police station.


His version


“I didn’t know who I was going to be on shift with until the last moment. And then one of my company colleagues told me: “You’ll be on duty with the redhead. Be careful, because she’s sick in her head.” But I didn’t care - I just wanted to drive through the night, that’s all.


We started driving and I thought: “What kind of person she is? Let’s see.” And somehow it just took off. It probably started with music. I’m a fan of heavy music. Rock. And if I’m driving a police car, I always have rock on the radio. And somehow it just started. Song by song.”


“Roman Romashchenko. Will you go to Podil?”

“We worked out the shift. That’s all. We said goodbye. Then he texted me about the weather, and we started chatting. We talked and talked and talked.”


“Before Roma’s vacation, I needed a partner again. My car broke down and was taken to a service station, and I was assigned to another crew as the third member. During the next shift, our commanders met and asked: “Roman Romashchenko. Will you go to Podil?” He said he would go only if I was in the crew with him. The commanders agreed, saying: “We’ll see how it ends.”


That’s when we started talking. I saw him off for a two-week vacation, and when he came back, we went to meet his parents. After returning home, I said: “Move in with me.”


What’s wrong with that? He lived in a dormitory, I lived in Hostomel. Every day he would come to pick me up from work and go to work. What was the point?


On December 31, Roma proposed to me.


“Let’s get married. Now!”

On February 23, Roma and I went to a drill and stayed there. There was information that an attack on the territory of our Department was possible. At that time, Roma was patrolling close to Khreshchatyk, and I was in a bunker on the territory of the Department with the children of police officers and the National Academy of Internal Affairs.


I started to get hysterical. I was alone in the bunker, I had only 28 rounds of ammunition, and there were children, lots of children.


I called Roma and said: “There will be an attack on the Department, I see that everyone is preparing. They are standing at the windows with machine guns!”


He said: “I can’t do anything. I’m standing in the center of Kyiv. We are not being withdrawn.”


At that moment, I realized that I am no longer worried about myself and the children, but about him. Because at least I have guys with machine guns next to me, and there are three of them. What will come? Where will it come from? Nobody knows anything.


They withdraw him from the line. He returns to the Department, runs into the bunker and says: “Let’s get married.”


- We have a wedding on August 12.

- No, let’s do it now.

- If now, it’s now.


“Do you know I’m already married?”

I realize now that we were the first police officers to get married during the war.


We started looking for ways to do it. Our Department talked to the Ministry to get them to let us get married. On February 26, we started looking for a military chaplain to perform the ceremony, but he was ill.


In the end, the Head of the Department, Zhukov (with the call sign Marshal), signed our marriage license. My husband wanted it to be him.


We went on Instagram, and Marshal posted an order to certify the marriage. There are many, many, many orders in the photo - and I see my name. It was in very small characters.


I call the Department:

- Natalia, where is my order? Do you know I’m already married?

- No way!

- Look for the order.

- ...Yes, indeed, you are married. Since March 6.”


By the way, now I will always have one association with marriage - a sleeping bag. When I was told that the order was ready, I received it for the first time from my friends. Before that, we were sleeping without it, freezing.

We waited for a very long time until the order was sent to the registry office to go and register our marriage as people usually do. The registry offices were all closed at the time, and there were not enough people in the Department. What to do? Continue to serve and wait.


On April 12, we finally went to the registry office. We came in bulletproof vests because we were on duty that day. They didn’t even let us into the registry office. A woman came out, handed us the certificate and said: “I wish you a happy family life.”


She turned around and went back. That was our wedding.


“Every time we go on a shift, no one knows how it will end.”

He:

“With her, I am real - with all my pros and cons. With her, there is a sense of responsibility - for her and for myself (you have to be careful, because someone is waiting for you at home).”


“When, at the beginning of the full-scale war, it was not yet clear whether Kyiv would be recaptured, I was not worried about having to battle. I was thinking about not becoming disabled or dying, because then Nastia would stay alone.”


“Every time we go on a shift, no one knows how it will end. So we have to live and love here and now.”


She:

“Now we live in a rented apartment. Our home in Hostomel was damaged. After we left for the drill, a cat and a rat stayed at home. They survived the occupation thanks to the neighbors who fed them.”


“The occupiers stole many things. A lot of things. They hardly took men’s things, but women’s things were taken each and all. They did not take warm socks, clothes, or pants, but women’s underwear, stockings, and intimate hygiene products for women. They took dirty laundry from the baskets.”


“They broke our two laptops. They threw a dumbbell at them. Roma goes in for sports, and we have them at home. They threw it on both laptops. They broke a big TV. There were only a few apartments where TV sets were broken. They either left them intact or took them out. We think it was because they saw a police uniform in the apartment.”


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