АвторAuthor: Olha Verkalets | Translation: Iryna Myronenko
9 June 2022
Karina Goroshkova is a 21-year-old medical student. She was born in Mariupol to a family of dentists. year planned to complete his studies and continue the family dynasty. The girl spent 21 days under constant shelling of Mariupol and rescued people with her parents when the first bombs were dropped on a maternity hospital in the city center. However, the war for her started earlier – in 2014, when Mariupol heard the first explosions near her.
At about 3 am on February 22, 2022, we woke up to strong explosions, but did not pay attention. They thought it was short-lived. So in the morning, as usual, we went to work. Strong explosions were repeated on the night of February 23. And the 24th has already announced the invasion of Russia.
That morning we woke up to a strong flash in the window. A rocket fell nearby. Then my loved ones and I packed up and went to my grandmother’s private house on the Left Bank. It seemed to us that it would be safe in her basement. While living there, our house burned down. We did not return home.
At that time, there were almost no products in stores. Dried bagels, spices. People raked everything. It was as if they foresaw what would happen next. Thought to even start starving. That’s how it happened.
The explosions were getting closer and closer. It was scary. I kept saying, “Another day and they’re happening in our house.” There was no light or water. Then we stayed in my grandmother’s basement for two days.
We were bombed, shells flew through the house, because the Morning Market was nearby. This was the last place where products were still sold. The orcs learned of this and wiped him to ashes. They arranged a famine for us.
We tried to sleep all night. But every two minutes a projectile flies. From 20:00 to 10:00 they destroyed this market. Every inch of it is rubbed to ashes.
I’ll catch up in two days. I called my grandfather, who is in the center, all night. He had a car in it and he could pick us out. Finally you can call. All I told him was, “Please hurry. We may not be here now. ” He sat down and in the curfew went to us for choice. There were rumors that the bridge connecting the center and the Left Bank had been blown up. No one is allowed. That’s why we didn’t go faster than my grandmother.
My grandfather took us to the center of Mariupol, where it was still quiet. People even walked and laughed. There were shops, sometimes supermarkets opened for a year. At that time, even drinking water was brought to the water supply system. And explosions were heard on the outskirts. We did not expect that the center would be bombed. They thought to leave it beautiful “for the picture” on their television.
The whole family lived in my parents’ dentistry. It’s like an extension to the house opposite the maternity hospital.
I remember the boys and I standing on the street. Surprisingly, the relatives were all in the same room. The first air bomb arrived, we heard a loud explosion that drowned us out. It was literally a few hundred meters from us. I was pierced by a shock wave from head to toe. She did not let me go to the opening. I thought it was the end and it would break me. But miraculously I was dragged. All the trees fell on the street, buildings burned, and there were continuous screams near the delivery room. Crazy atmosphere.
We sat in the dentist on the floor, covering our heads with our hands. The maternity hospital was hit three times. After that, the father went outside to see what the situation was. He saw a belief in an air bomb, many dead and wounded. Then he shouted for us to take blankets, sheets and run out to save others.
They ran like crazy, looking for drivers whose doctors would take people to people. Among the wounded was a 13-year-old boy who was smashed to pieces. Woman with a fragment in her head. The girl, who was just walking the dog, was already without signs of life. We still put her on the sheets and put her in the car.
The most memorable thing was the woman lying with her legs torn off at the entrance to the dentist waiting for us to be behind her car. She shared in my eyes and said: “I went out of the water and was left without legs.” I will never forget this look.
It was injected with adrenaline, an analgesic. The legs were rewound with a belt to stop the bleeding. She kept repeating how she was in pain and didn’t understand what had happened to her. Finally, they found a car for her. We saved everyone who could then.
I don’t even know how she behaved. When a person is in a state of shock for about two weeks, the consciousness and the world are slightly distorted. The only thing that supported us all in those moments was other help. We escaped with each other’s support.
You see these corpses, the rockets that fly at you every day, the children who have panic attacks 24/7, the atmosphere in the bunker, the lying people, the wounded, the woman who overwhelmed the children in the basement. You see it all. And the eyes no longer look as before. They become more candid, the spark disappears, a great look appears. All you think about is survival. People say that Mariupol residents can be understood by their eyes. He’s a little crazy about them.
Water was brought to the water supply system. The queues were miles away. It took at least six hours. There are explosions near you, nowhere to hide, and you are standing and waiting for water.
After hitting the maternity hospital, the water was brought for another week. But people were afraid to go outside. At that time, we also no longer lived in dentistry, but went down to the bunker. They stocked up on water, so they didn’t go out. And those who left did not return. The guy, who had a pregnant wife, went out of the water and was killed by a shell. This story happened to everyone. So people shared among themselves. We also melted the snow and drank like that.
In the first days there were enough aviation products. People ran to open shops, took overdue meat and fish. Sometimes our servicemen brought food when they could still come. But they also asked for diapers, baby food for women in labor.
People looted, behaved like animals. At the time, it was a way of survival. Later, even chandeliers and TVs were taken out. It is unclear where they were taken. Because the lights in that house were no longer turned off.
In the second week of living in the bunker was about 300 people. Everyone chose a place. Such great difficulties got along with each other, but we got along great. Our only goal was to survive.
We hung a sign at the dentist: “If you have unnecessary medicine – bring it to us.” People ran to the pharmacy, took medicine and collected unnecessary. That’s why everyone brought our family.
We saw one child each – two diapers a day, there was a shortage. The achievements also helped. We walked around the bunker with a bag and shouted: “Who needs a headache? And from stress? People ran up, took what they needed and passed. One woman brought children’s things from home, and we also distributed them.
There were rumors about people who were shot while leaving. Some returned to the bunker. Every day we prayed to leave. We waited for at least some corridor, but did not wait.
One night the shell hit our house. Everything shook above us. Fortunately, it was not a rocket. We could have been overwhelmed alive there. Then the second projectile arrived. We understood that we needed to act. We ran out into the street, and our house was on fire. They tried to extinguish it with their hands, but to no avail.
The fire spread to the whole house. It was on fire, and under it were 300 people who had nowhere to go. The odds were 50 to 50. Either people would not have time to reach another basement, or they were already buried alive there.
The basement began to smoke with carbon monoxide. We took blankets, put valuables there and got in the car. My grandfather took our family on two walks.
“On the way, rockets rained down on us, shells fell nearby. The city was on fire. We saw corpses in the streets, people burned alive in cars who just left at the wrong time”.
Grandfather took us out of town. That day we can get to the village of Yalta. The next day we left for Berdyansk, and from there we planned to go to Zaporizhia.
My boyfriend was dropped off at the checkpoint in Berdyansk and sent to the colony. The occupiers did not explain anything. We begged for any information. But they pointed a machine gun at us and said, “Get in the car and get out of here. We are taking him away. ”
For two days they searched, went to the commandant’s office, the regional department. They lost all hope. But he miraculously got out. I saw terrible things there. How our military is being tortured. As an 18-year-old girl, the Chechens brought her with the words: “Especially violent. I was at a rally for Ukraine. ” My lover was released because they probably didn’t find anything for him.
All together we broke again. From Berdyansk passed 20 checkpoints on the way to Zaporozhye. We were so “scammed” by orcs. My six-year-old sister was crawled under her feet, pawing, to find something. They behaved like real beasts.
In Zaporozhye we were already warmly welcomed, fed, watered, washed. We immediately felt that we were at home and safe.
There will still be grandparents in Mariupol (the conversation was recorded on May 9, ed.). They live in the country, on the outskirts of the city, there is a little safe. My grandmother’s house survived, but the orcs did not let him. Private property no longer matters. They are evicting people from their homes. There is no life there, only survival. Water from the sea, the state of bread a day. At least they don’t shoot so hard.
Compared to the remnant, I am now in paradise. I have a house, gas, electricity, water. I can buy food. I feel safe. But the thought of “hitting now” does not leave me when I go outside.
We are waiting for our city to be liberated and Ukraine to come there. We want to make and rebuild. Mariupol was incredibly cozy. He developed. It was a city where I wanted to live all my life. I’m waiting for my return.
Making plans, looking for a house, a car are not the best. The main thing is to survive. We had everything, but now we are left alone with our lives.
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: Olha Verkalets | Translation: Iryna Myronenko