Ukraine protester falls for policeman at barricades

Lidia Pankiv during a live TV interview where she denounced the actions of Government forces.
Lidia Pankiv during a live TV interview where she denounced the actions of Government forces.

Amid the violence and political upheaval in Ukraine, a young female protester has told how she fell in love with a police officer after a stand-off in the capital Kiev.

Lidia Pankiv, 24, said she had been one of the protesters out on the streets campaigning against corruption and demanding a change the day she met police officer Andrei.

The journalist had been one of a group of women acting as a human shield and standing between the police officers and a group of protesters hoping that by their presence there they would stop the violence.

She said: "We were up close to the police officers and I got a call from a friend, the officers were only just in front of us and she was asking me to help find a friend of hers that had been arrested.

"She wanted me to write something. I told her to call me, and I gave her the number she should call. I told her it twice as it was loud and there was shouting."

Instead of the call she was expecting, however, she got a text and it was not from a protester, it was from one of the police officers who had been standing in the police line opposite her.

Andrei did not want to reveal his full name for fear of losing his job, but told her he wanted to marry her.

He said that when he had seen her standing there defenceless and putting herself between armed men and those that she was trying to protect, he had been smitten.

Andrei had been even more impressed when the police line had actually turned round and moved away.

The short message said: "Despite all the commotion I remembered your phone number when you gave it to your friend. I don't even know your name.

"I was standing in the night with a shield in front of you. When you stopped us from advancing, I realised that I want to marry you. Andrei."

The first meeting was in front of the barricades on Maidan square, where surrounded by the wreckage of the battles they had their first date.

She said: "I was really surprised that the message and don't know why I agreed to meet him, I thought perhaps it might be possible to convince him that the side he was on was wrong and I certainly didn't expect to find myself falling in love with him. But when I saw him when I started to speak to him - that is what happened."

But the young woman's standing went even further when she was invited onto a local television station called Inter to talk about her love affair with the police officer from the other side.

When she found out that the broadcast was live she agreed, but left the host speechless after, instead of talking about her love for the police officer, she slammed the TV station for its coverage prior to the collapse of the government and for spreading lies about the protesters.

She got a standing ovation from the audience, and said: "You probably want to hear a story from me about how with my bare hands I restrained a whole riot unit, and how one of the officers fell in love with me, and I fell in love with him.

"It is true that I fell in love with the policeman that I met, but I'm going to tell you another story. I did use my bare hands when I met them, but it was not to fight them, it was so I could drag the bodies of those killed the day before and the day before that off the streets. It is about how two of my best friends killed peacefully protesting."

Referring to Ukraine's former president, she said: "I can tell you how I hate Yanukovych and all those who carry out their criminal orders.

"I came here today only because I found out that this is a live broadcast. I want to say that I also despise Inter because for three months it deceived viewers and spread enmity among citizens of this country. And now you are calling for peace and unity.

"Yes, you have the right to try to clear your conscience, but I think if you really want to show how sorry you are you should run this program on your knees.

"I've brought these photos here for you, so that you see my dead friends in your dreams and understand that you also took part in that. And now, I'm sorry, I don't have time. I'm going to Maidan. Glory to Ukraine."

She then showed the pictures live on television before getting up and walking out - leaving the host speechless and the audience cheering and clapping.

The young woman's story was first reported in December but was not excessively covered by local media which was still under the control of the government and where the policeman was in danger were his name to be made public.

The only pictures of the couple together include his face pixelated and his surname has still not been made public.

But the woman's story became front-page news after her television appearance where she turned the tables on her host.

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