People knocked on the train doors and begged: ‘Let us in; we are with the children!’
During the bombing of Kramatorsk in 2014, Valentyna Bondarenko suffered a stroke. Eight years later, two seniors barely squeezed into an overcrowded train to evacuate from their hometown, heavily shelled again by Russian troops.
‘In a state of shock, I almost gave away my child …’
During the shelling of Kramatorsk by the Russians, Vadim and his wife were on the evacuation train. His wife was seriously injured. Fortunately, she was saved.
‘I was at home when the shell destroyed the wall’
Valerii Zinchenko, a resident of Moshchun, has eight children. Three sons went to the front to defend their homeland from Russian invaders. Valerii says he did not believe in the good intentions of the “brothers” since his time in the military service.
‘Do not look! Our house is burning’
Liudmyla Shevchenko lives in Moshchun. The house they struggled to build, in which three generations of the family lived, burned down before her eyes. All they managed to save were documents.
‘We lost fifteen acquaintances who died in this war’
“The invasion of Russian troops was so swift that people did not immediately understand whose helicopters with the letter ‘V’ were circling over their heads,” — says Zaika Nadiia, a village Moshchun resident. A few days later, the village was bombarded with Grads [rockets].
‘We walked around the mines and planted a vegetable garden’ — a story of a Moshchun resident
Mariia Mateitseva worked as a crane operator all her life. She and her husband built two houses in Moshchun with their own hands: for themselves and their daughter. Both homes were destroyed. Mariia now lives in a shack. She has nowhere to go.
‘The earth is calling, the house is calling. I want to go home’
Halyna Kononchuk lived in Sloviansk. When the war began, her sick mother was dying in her arms. Halyna had to bike many kilometers to find painkillers for her while at home, a disabled child was waiting.
‘I realized that there’d be an apple tree, the sky, the sun, but I’d no longer be’
The eleven-year-old daughter of Yevheniia Savynska from the Chernihiv Region said these words. Numerous attacks forced the family to evacuate twice. Yevheniia admits that now she is most worried about the child's spirit.
Wrecked cars often had ‘Children’ written on them
From the first days of the war, the city of Chernihiv was subject to severe bombardments by the Russian army. Oksana Shevel, who lived in the urban settlement of Kulykivka near Chernihiv, talks about the difficult humanitarian situation, columns of refugees, and work at the volunteer headquarters.
‘Many houses have been destroyed, and people have nowhere to return to…’
Tymchenko Mykhailo, a resident of the village of Moshchun, did not believe in a full-scale war. Hence, he did not have time to collect an emergency go bag or insulin supplies for the evacuation. Now he has returned to Moshchun and plans to restore his house.
‘We don’t have an apartment anymore, Katia.’ A story of the Kharkiv student
Kateryna Hurina is a student of the Kharkiv National University of Radio Electronics who was almost killed by Russian missiles after being evacuated to Liubotyn. When Kateryna was in Germany, her apartment on Northern Saltivka burned down after a rocket hit the house.
‘When there’s nothing left, it’s scary’ (Moshchun resident Antonina Soloviova)
The house of Antonina, a pensioner from Moshchun, was destroyed by a Russian bomb. The children did not immediately tell her about it, but a week later, “they brought the news with a sedative.”
‘Planes and helicopters dropped shells in the garden’ (Moshchun resident Tetiana Shyrant)
Tetiana Shyrant lived in the Moshchun with a large family in the house her parents built in 1963. Unfortunately, their home was destroyed, and later everything burned to the ground. Tetiana admits that she has no plans for the future.
‘The windows were blown out, frames and all’ (Vasyl Markhonos, Borodianka)
During the bombardment of Borodianka, Vasyl hid in a neighbor's cellar. Then, one day he decided to go home and cook some food. At that moment, a shell hit his house. It burned so that everything around melted.
‘Grads maneuvered between our houses and shelled Mariupol’. The story of Roman
The Russian military stole Roman’s car and later returned it without registration plates. The street near his dacha (summer cottage) was “crammed with Kamaz trucks” carrying Russian military men who admitted they had come to earn extra money for a car.
‘Why fire eight rockets at a kindergarten?’
Okhtyrka resident lost her son on the second day of Russia’s invasion, he died while helping to equip a bomb shelter in a kindergarten. Due to constant shelling, they were able to bury him only three days later.
‘If I am to die, then only in my homeland’ (Izium resident Tamara Shehin)
Volunteer of the Red Cross of Ukraine — Tamara Shehin spent four months in the occupied Izium. She talks about how the Russians dropped cluster bombs on the city, shot down cars, and tormented people.
‘When we saw planes, we fell to the ground’ (Moshchun resident Viktor Naimybutko)
We met 78-year-old Viktor on the ruins of his private house in Moschun in the Kyiv Region. For many years he has been equipping his dwelling, which was destroyed instantly by an artillery shell when the Russian troops went toward Kyiv in March 2022.
One gun against a pack of invaders: Olena Kratkovska on her father’s death
Olena’s father died on the seventh day of the war, defending his house in the village of Yahidne. He was a pensioner, but when the Russian invaders entered the village, he picked up a hunting rifle and went against the enemy.
Russians kept residents of the Chernihiv Region in the basement for a month
Unfortunately, not everyone came out of the basement when the Ukrainian army de-occupied the village. The Russians allowed women to go outside only once on 8 March, this was the way to congratulate them on International Women’s Day.