‘We lost fifteen acquaintances who died in this war’
I am Zaika Nadiia Petrivna, born in 1960. I got married and have been living here for more than forty years. I have been working in Lesnaya Polyana, in a military hospital.
— Tell us about your family.
— My family is my husband, son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren who are 9 and 2 years old. Everyone fled to Moshchun because we did not think such things would happen here. Well, Hostomel, Varshavka, but coming to us serves no purpose! Nobody could have believed it ...
Helicopters flew below the pines on the first day of the war, but no one knew the meaning of the letter “V”. We thought maybe it was our military.
Someone waved to them, and many helicopters had their doors opened; they sat there with machine guns and looked at people. We had no fear; no one could have thought the Russians were already here. People went out onto the balconies and stared. We did the same.
— Did you expect a full-scale war? Perhaps you prepared in some way?
— There were conversations in our family. True, we did not think that everything would happen on the 24th. We didn’t prepare for anything. On the twentieth, the granddaughter fell ill, ended up in intensive care, and then such grief! Everything was mixed up in a heap: the war, the child in intensive care, someone needed to be with her. So, of course, I went to her hospital.
— What happened in the village?
— There were bombardments. Natasha [daughter-in-law] was here with the children. She has five of them and did not let them out. My husband was shell-shocked in the forest. Until 4 March, some houses were fired upon, and on the fifth, they covered the whole place with Grads. It was such a mess here.
— Did your grandchildren and children hide in the cellar?
— Yes. During the day, when there was no shelling, we were in the house in the corridor because Natasha said there should be two walls. On 4 March, she evacuated because half of the house was gone, the house was burning nearby, but some places were still standing. We left on the 5th when Horenka was already on fire too. When we were driving, a fence just flew over the car.
I have never been a church parishioner, but then I prayed so much that I surprised myself.
We arrived at the station, and there was pandemonium. The children began to cry; my temperature was 39 [Celsius] all week. It was impossible to get on the train. We did not know where to go because there was no one to go to. We had guests all the time, but we didn’t visit much. Finally, someone suggested going to Uzhgorod. We squeezed into the train and took off. Volunteers met us on the platform and settled us in a kindergarten. We stayed there for two days and ended up in the hospital. I went to one, and Veronica [granddaughter] was taken to another. We were in Uzhgorod, but my husband was taken to hospital number 8 in Kyiv because his leg was to be amputated.
— How long did you stay in the evacuation?
— I returned on 29 March.
— What about your house?
— What about the house? We returned and found everything collapsed and burned down; the kitchen hung on gas pipes. Nothing left: not a spoon or a fork, absolutely nothing. There were five rooms. Here [shows] was our bedroom, the long room of the eldest son, a children's room, a bath, a corridor, and a kitchen.
We had five rooms. I arrived here on the 22nd before Easter and had a real tantrum. When I entered the village, there was a burning smell. Everything around was destroyed and looked terrible and black. We found a pile of rubble when we entered our little yard. We entered the house ... We had nothing left. No, a bit was there! Some canned goods and potatoes remained in the cellar. The top burned, but inside, everything was intact. That's all we have left.
— Where do you live now?
— Our pastor took us in. Our pastor Nicholas. A rocket hit his house and demolished the wall. We restored it and are living there. Our children in Pushcha-Voditsa rent an apartment. And where should they go?
— How many houses were destroyed in Moshchun?
— Almost all. Eighty percent of the village has been destroyed. And if you take dachas [summer cottages], it is a real mess. However, some people rebuilt a little.
— Did many civilians die in the village?
— Yesterday my husband and I counted 15 people whom we lost. Serhii Shvets is missing. They still can’t find him. Makushenko Oleksandr and Makushenko Olga: he was found in the forest and the woman in the cellar. Oleksandr was killed on the fourth. The woman was walking (Natalia) and was killed on the road. Yura was shot. Kalinichenko’s wanted to evacuate. There was one driver from Vinnytsia. They left the house and started the car. The Russians rushed out of the forest and shot people. Serhii was wounded, but he survived. Natasha was injured in the thigh, and Yura was killed. The Russians came up, examined him, and said he was dead. Slava was found dead in the cellar with his hands tied. Sasha... I don’t remember his last name.
An older man lived on the other side. He always wore military trousers. He was not an army man but just walked around in these pants. He was killed. Vasil suffered. There used to live a woman, and she had panic attacks when the explosions started. She hung herself on a tree in the courtyard. Her son put her body on the ground, but then it was torn by a shell. The Yaremchuks (brother and sister) burned in the house alive. Mikola had a stroke, but he could speak. He was 62 years old. A shell hit, and the house caught fire, he screamed, but there was no one to save him. Yesterday while there was no light, I stayed in bed and counted. I counted 15 people who died in this war.
— Has your attitude towards the Russians changed?
— If I had my way, I would wipe them off the face of the earth. At first, when I looked at those soldiers, I even felt sorry for them. And now... May they all die! Together with Putin!