Sergey Panashchuk, Anna Bodrova in Odesa, Ukraine
Fields near the village were considered relatively safe by locals. Though fields near the village of Blahodatnoe, which is only 4 kilometers away, were heavily contaminated with mines.
"I had a bad premonition. I didn't want to drive the tractor that day, because exactly a year ago, on March 21, a shell hit not far from my home in Blahodatnoe and I was shell-shocked.
But premonition or not, I had to support my family," Dmytro said, speaking to SAVE UA MEDIA.
"You could see a mine if you look closely when you walk, but you can’t see them when you sit behind the wheel of a tractor".
Also, some mines are programmed to go out only under the weight of heavy machinery. Man’s weight is not enough to make them explode".
According to Dmytro, rescuers and emergency services did not demine the fields near the village. They advised locals to pay attention and mark spots with shells and mines, if they see them, with special marks so rescuers would be able to come and defuse them.
Emergency services and demining brigades in the region are overwhelmed with requests for demining these days.
"I was driving the tractor, and suddenly I felt a heat wave and a painful blow," Dmytro recalls.
"I fainted for a few minutes. When I came around, I thought I was dead.
Every part of my face was bleeding. Even my eyes"
The man pulled out his phone and filmed himself walking away from the site of the explosion. He called a relative and was taken to the hospital in Mykolayiv.
"My whole body hurt and my head felt like it was bursting", Dmytro recalls.
He was diagnosed with a heavy concussion and eye trauma. His eyes have been collected by the surgeons.
Now Dmytro can see only shadows with his injured eye and continue his treatment in Odesa.
Before hitting a mine, Dmytro fed and evacuated abandoned cats and dogs from his native village of Blahodatnoe to save them from starvation.
He was forced to leave the village at the end of March last year and came back to find his cats in November after the Russians stopped constantly shelling it.
When he saw the scale of destruction, he was shocked.
"There is not a single house that was left intact. Everything is destroyed, abandoned cats and dogs are starving, and there are no people around", says Dmytro.
Only two people came to the village to stay there.