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  • Українці розповідають про пережите під час війни з росією

    Ukrainians talk about their experiences during the war with russia

    Iryna with her husband

    Iryna Mykhalchuk: “I feel that I will not be able to return to Kherson, but I am trying to plan the future for the sake of my daughter”


    АвторAuthor: Oleksandr Nikitin | Translation: Mariia Moskaliuk

    14 August 2022

    Before the war, Iryna Mikhalchuk lived in Kherson and taught choreography in her own studio. The woman talks about how the city ended up under occupation, and how she and her daughter managed to leave for Western Ukraine. Now Iryna is in Lviv, and her husband defends Ukraine in the ranks of the Armed Forces. Read about life under fire exclusively in “Monologues of the War”.

    My name is Iryna, before the war I worked as a choreography teacher at Kherson State University; I left it in September 2021. I continued my work in my own studio, led dances for children and adults, fitness rehabilitation, helping people to be in harmony with their bodies. 

    The girls and I discussed news about the war in the studio back in the fall, but we didn’t really believe in its beginning.

    On February 23, I was conducting classes; the girls asked if I had heard the latest news? I reassured them, told them, if you cannot influence the situation, leave it alone, solve the issue when it arises. In general, I did not read the news; I was not interested in this topic at all.

    “I woke up to the sound of cars and screams that the war had begun”

    On February 24, I woke up in the night at 4 a.m. from the sound of a car and shouts that the war had begun. It was some neighbor who probably had information from inside the state services. In general, all military personnel were summoned and taken to Mykolaiv at 2:00 a.m., so it was known in advance. I don’t know if I would have reacted then, but that is a rhetorical question.

    My husband was a military man. He calmed me down and said that it was impossible to take Kherson through the bridge. The fighting for the city lasted for four days, but on February 26, an acquaintance from Mykolaiv, who has a military husband, said that Kherson was being occupied. I did not understand how this could happen, but already on March 1, russian troops surrounded the city from all roads leading from the city. This is how the occupation began.

    “April 18 was the last possible attempt to leave Kherson” 

    We didn’t want to leave until the end; we had neither a car nor money. The price of departure was very high, but either God helped or it was luck – friends left in two cars and we got seats. We evacuated very successfully, probably the almighty is protecting us.

    Read also: «The second army in the world» is a great shame. Dirty and disgusting». The story of a pensioner from Chernihiv region who had lived under occupation for 2 months

    The departure was on April 18th at 6 in the morning through Snigurivka, then the convoys were still traveling on that road, and by 10 o’clock we were on Ukrainian-controlled territory.

    In general, April 18 was the last possible successful attempt to leave Kherson. After that, either there was shelling, or they didn’t release it.

    Friends from Kropyvnytskyi

    With friends from Kropyvnytskyi during a trip to Lviv

    Thanks to work, I have many friends almost all over the country, from the first days of the war; a friend from Lviv wrote that she was waiting for me, so we decided to go there. We currently live with friends. 

    I am looking for a job, I am resuming my studies, I am working little by little in studios in Lviv, my daughter has entered the lyceum, and my husband is currently protecting the state and us, serving in the ranks of the Armed Forces.

    Family in Lviv

    With family in Lviv

    My mother, sister and nephew stayed in Kherson, I am in constant contact with them, I help as much as I can, I send medicine. I never planned to leave the country, but I feel that I will not be able to return to Kherson, so I am trying to plan a future for my daughter. I rely on the universe.

    Чому важливо поширити цю історію?
    Якщо українці не розповідатимуть свій погляд на війну в Україні, світ поступово забуватиме про нас. Натомість цим обов’язково скористаються росіяни. Тому не даймо їм жодного шансу.

    Why is it important to share this story?
    If Ukrainians do not share their views on the war in Ukraine, the world will gradually forget about us. Instead, the Russians will definitely take advantage of this. So let's not give them a chance.

    АвторAuthor: Oleksandr Nikitin | Translation: Mariia Moskaliuk


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