Ukraine Hero Medals

Hero of Ukraine

Two related but different Ukrainian awards share the title of Hero of Ukraine, the country's highest distinction. Created on August 23, 1998, Heroes of Ukraine are awarded either the Order of the Golden Star for a notable heroic act or the State Order of the Golden Star for an extraordinary labor achievement.

Both medals use an identical ribbon drape, 45mm X 28mm and divided equally into two bands, a blue on the left and yellow on the right. Connected to the ribbon is a suspension device joined to the gold planchet. Both medals have ORDER UKRAINE in Cyrillic and the award number engraved on the flat reverse.

Below the ribbon for the Order of the Gold Star, the golden suspension device contains a small engraving of a trident (Tryzub of Prince Volodymyr of Kyiv), representing the Ukrainian coat-of-arms. The planchet is in the form of a 35mm five-pointed star set within a wreath of oak leaves. A smaller five-pointed star is engraved within the larger star. The reverse contains the two-line Cyrillic inscription HERO UKRAINE in relief.

In contrast, the 35mm planchet for the gold State Order of the Golden Star has a large trident of the Princely State Sign of Volodymyr the Great of Kyiv framed by a wreath of oak branches. There is no special design or symbol engraved on the ornate suspension device.

President Zelensky, a Profile in Courage

President Zelensky announced on April 29, 2022, that all 13 Snake Island Border Guards would receive the Order of the Gold Star and the title Hero of Ukraine posthumously. The Ukrainian State Border Guard Service announced later that it has a strong belief that all Ukrainian defenders of Snake Island may be alive being held captive in Russia. The confusion as to the status of the Border Guards remains unresolved.

The President also presented the Order of the Gold Star to six Heroes of Ukraine and the family of a military man, who received his award posthumously. The awards were given to Master Sergeant of the Land Forces Pavlo Bilous and Senior Sergeant Oleksandr Klyuchka, who distinguished themselves in Kyiv during a battle with a long column of Russian armored vehicles. Thanks to their actions, several Russian tanks and infantry fighting vehicles were destroyed.

Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Ihor Dykun, who on March 23, 2022 during a battle near the city of Irpin, was seriously wounded while acting as deputy commander of the combined company, but despite being wounded, he continued fighting. He personally killed ten enemy infantrymen and destroyed one A-35 ballistic missile defense system and one infantry fighting vehicle.

Colonel of the Land Forces Pavlo Fedosenko was also honored. As the commander of the 92nd Separate Mechanized Brigade since the beginning of the Russian aggression, he organized and successfully continues to defend Kharkiv Lieutenant Colonel Oleksandr Yakovenko was recognized for the fact that units of a separate assault battalion under his command successfully destroyed armored and motor vehicles and inflicted heavy losses on enemy units during battles at Donetsk.

Order of the Golden Star and State Order of the Golden Star

The Order of the Gold Star was also presented to the family of Captain Andriy Norov, the Deputy Commander of the Motorized Infantry Battalion of the 72nd Separate Mechanized Brigade. Captain Norov organized the defense of the Kyiv Hydroelectric Power Station. In March, thanks to his actions, enemy units in Kyiv suffered heavy losses, which halted their advance on the city.

The Identical Wearing Star for Both Hero of Ukraine Orders

In addition to the formal award, recipients of either Hero Order, are given a medal, known as the Star of Ukraine or Hero Star. It is in the shape of a 33mm, five-pointed star with smooth dihedral (upward angled) rays made of non-precious metal for daily wear. There is only a single design of the wearer's copy for both awards, modeled after the Hero of the Soviet Union medal. The trident (the Princely State Sign of Volodymyr of Kyiv), which is used on Ukraine's coat-of-arms, is placed in the center of the star. The reverse is flat with the two-line Cyrillic inscription in relief HERO UKRAINE.

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