war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

‘I saw a plane drop a bomb on my house’

12.04.2024    available: Українською | На русском
Oksana Halchenko is a resident of Borodianka. She says that the Russians fired at houses from tanks if they saw someone in the window. The woman evacuated after her home was destroyed. Her sister spent a month under occupation, refusing the “attractive” offers of the occupiers to evacuate to Russia.

Before the full-scale invasion, I lived in Borodianka, where I still live. On February 24, as always, I planned to go to work. I worked at an agricultural enterprise at that time. But the morning did not start as usual. My brother-in-law called me and told me to get ready because the war had begun. Everyone said that tanks were coming. However, at first, we didn’t believe it and were sure they wouldn’t reach us. However, on February 27, enemy equipment had already arrived here.

I heard shots when I went for a walk with the dog. It was terrible. They said that Russians shoot houses from tanks if they see someone in the window. One day, my daughter’s classmate came and said that a tank hit one of the houses, the shell flew right into the corridor, and at that moment, his girlfriend’s father was there. He died.

Oksana Halchenko, resident of the town Borodianka

Then we saw with our own eyes how these tanks drove. My house was about 30 meters from the road. They rode like this: the first one had the muzzle pointing in one direction, the second one — in the other, like a crisscross. And on top of the armor sat Russian soldiers with machine guns. They started shooting if they saw someone in the window. It was, of course, terrifying. One day, late evening, my brother-in-law went out to smoke. When he returned, he said that we had to leave because he heard them shooting from Grads [multiple rocket launcher].

When we went outside, I saw the house opposite us was on fire. Our house was still intact then. Thank God the car was undamaged. We went to our friends who lived on the other side of Borodianka. In the evening, I went to the second floor and saw the plane flying. In an instant, I realized that it was dropping a bomb on my house because it was just in that direction.

The house where Oksana Halchenko lived

We saw a bomb being dropped, and then a powerful fire started. In the morning, we thought about going to see if a bomb had been dropped on our house, but we decided not to return and evacuate as quickly as possible. We went to the village of Peskovka. From there, I could call my sister, who remained in Borodianka, and she told me: “Oksana, your house is no longer there!”

My sister spent a month under occupation in Borodianka. They tried not to go anywhere. But the Russian military came to them. They asked why they didn’t leave. The sister answered them: why should they leave? This is their home, where they were born, where their parents are. Where should they go? And he said: “Well, where? To Russia!”

Rescuers clear away rubble from a house destroyed by a Russian bomb in Borodianka

Meanwhile, we left Piskovka, in the Buchansky district, for Transcarpathia. There, we were received by strangers, for which we greatly thank them. We returned before Easter when we were allowed to return. Then I saw with my own eyes that a rocket hit my building. Two families died in our house: one family — a husband, a wife, and a four-year-old child. And another guy. He went out to see if the tanks had passed and if it was safe, and they shot him with a machine gun. The perished family was hiding in the basement. When the bomb hit, they found themselves under rubble. Their bodies weren’t even found.

Upon my return, I lived with my sister for some time. Then I realized that there were a lot of us because, although she has a private house, it is small. Moreover, there was a sister and her husband, a nephew and daughter-in-law, and me with my son-in-law and daughter. Therefore, we moved to a modular town, which opened in Borodianka.

Modular town in Borodianka

The three of us lived there in one room for six months. We are three adults and two dogs. We all lived in this two-by-four room. And then our friends offered us half the house. Of course, this is not much: two rooms and a kitchen. But it’s still not the same as in a modular city. So we moved to this half of the house where we now live.

What is my attitude towards Russians? What attitude can there be towards murderers? These people came to kill. No matter how old they were, 20 or 50, they came to kill. That’s all. I have no other answer.

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