‘Two enemy shells destroyed my house’
I get up early because I work as a janitor. I went to kindergarten, and there was no one there. Then I saw the teachers gathering. I approached them, and they told me the war had begun. That’s all. I returned home, and we sat there, waiting.
I have two daughters and a husband. Sasha is six years old, then she was four, and the eldest is 21. We didn’t expect the Russians to bomb us. Then, when it started to thump, we went to the basement. Of course, we stayed in the basement after the windows blew out. We only came out to wash ourselves. We saw through the broken windows a plane flying by, but not ours. So, we went down to the basement together and sat there. It came in waves. There were booms here and there. There were bangs everywhere. Of course, the children cried a lot. We were hiding, and the windows were covered in the basement. But the explosions were so strong that we felt a hit wave. We covered the windows so that the light was not noticeable, especially in the evening and at night.
It all started in the first days. We have a house on the circle near the restaurant, and something exploded there. We were running back and forth because we had a disabled person there, so we quietly made our way to him. He couldn’t get up, and we couldn’t take him to the basement either. Of course, it was scary because we had not prepared anything. Our guys did what they could, and we all came together. We installed a battery-powered light and brought mattresses because there were many children. We also brought food. Then, we were allowed to take some things from stores. There were many of us, so the guys went for food and said they saw a tank. It stood somewhere in the center. It also shot them, but thank God, it didn’t get them.
Everything was mixed up in my head. I can’t explain this fear now. I think a lot of people can’t explain it. They were afraid for the children. It was scary. It was terrifying, but the children, of course, are the most important thing. We were worried about whether we would be able to leave and there would be enough gasoline to get anywhere. They said we could go on the second or third [March]. My husband had a car, so we got in and drove to the gas warehouse. People said they opened there. We arrived, but there was no one, so we decided to go to Halynka; there is such a village here. We lived there with an older woman. Then we went to Teteriv and spent one night there. Then, we went by bus to Zhytomyr, where we stayed overnight, and then by train to Lviv, and from there, we went to Drohobych. We only returned in May. We came back, and we had nothing.
A shell flew into my apartment and destroyed everything. There’s nothing left — no walls, no furniture, nothing. Neighbors found two shells. One just flew in and broke two windows in the room. I have a large square room; a shell destroyed everything and fell in the middle of the corridor. It was lying there. It destroyed everything but did not explode. We have an old two-story hostel, and only I got it. The walls were cracked. There is nothing left where my room is. No partition. They caulked my window and made a roof. That’s all, but you can’t live there. The house is in disrepair. It is 50 years old, and I don’t know if it will survive. Perhaps it will stand for a couple of years and collapse.
Now, we live in a modular town. Me and two daughters. A small room, two bunk beds, small cabinets, a table, and chairs.
I have never had a good attitude towards Russians. We once went there on vacation, back in the Soviet Union, and they didn’t treat us very well. We later left because of Chornobyl. Since we were from boarding schools, we went to Moscow for treatment. They treated us badly there, too. What can I say... Many of my friends died. So the attitude, you understand, is not very good. I think it’s a collective responsibility, and Putin doesn’t play such a significant role. Even if he is gone, nothing will change. It’s my opinion. And it seems to me that this is true. They are aggressive towards us. It’s not just Putin who says on TV that they need to destroy everyone, including children. That’s what [Russian] people say.