at war

The Culture Fights Back project to share stories of artists and civil society representatives who have joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

In this section, we tell the stories of Ukrainian theater actors, ballet dancers, opera singers and choreographers who, often despite a complete lack of military experience, joined the ranks of the army at the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion.

Vadym Khlupianets

Vadym Khlupianets was a Ukrainian ballet dancer at the Kyiv National Academic Theater of Operetta. Bright and talented, he studied choreography while performing at one of the best theatres in Kyiv. He was killed by Russian invaders near Bakhmut. 

Vadym had been fond of sports and dancing since childhood. In 2014, the war broke into his home in the East of Ukraine, with Russia occupying his hometown of Donetsk. Together with his family, Vadym became an internal refugee, eventually resettling in the Zhytomyr region in Ukraine. 

At the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion, he joined the Territorial Defense Forces of Ukraine, later going to the frontline as a part of the National Guard. He fought fiercely in the regions surrounding Luhansk and Donetsk, such as the battles of Rubizhne, Sievierodonetsk, Lysychansk, and Zaitseve.

Vadym’s funeral ceremony took place in the Kyiv National Academic Theater of Operetta on November 24, 2022. The Ball, a play by Mateo Spiazzi, premiered that same day. Vadym Khlupianets had a role in the play that he had rehearsed but would never get to perform. The theatre team dedicated this premiere to the fallen hero. 

Vadym Khlupianets died at the age of 26, defending Ukraine from Russian invaders. June 14, 1996 – November 13, 2022. He lives on for eternity in our memories.

1 – Photo from the National Operetta of Ukraine Facebook-page
2 – Photo from Olena Khlupianets Facebook-page