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  • Українці розповідають про пережите під час війни з росією

    Ukrainians talk about their experiences during the war with russia

    Ksenia Laukhina

    Ksenia Laukhina: “I would never have imagined telling my children about the war not from the textbooks but from my own experience”

    Life under fire

    АвторAuthor: Yulia Zarudnitska | Translation: Andriy Zhenzherukha

    26 May 2022

    Ksenia is from Kyiv.  Not so long ago they had a new member of the family. Now she is a happy mother for two children: her daughter and her son. They were having a peaceful life, with typical routine weekdays of young parents and joyful family weekends. They were planning big, dreaming big… Looking forward to summer vacation abroad. However, the war made some adjustments.

    It was the 23rd day of the war. We spent 13 of them in a shelter. Luckily, with minimum heat, water and food at least twice a day. We were near Hostomel… In our vicinity, some 700 meters away marched a 54-kilometer convoy of various military equipment.

    Drones and unmanned aerial vehicles were flying over us all the time. Flying so close that they seemed to be a hair’s breadth away from the house’s roof. The window panes would vibrate. Russian occupiers shelled our village from “Grads”, thus clearing the path for themselves. They drove through our street in APCs, checking all the yards.

    8 March is not only Women’s Day, but also the day of our rescue

    We ate, slept, “went to the bathroom”, changed diapers for our son – all in the same basement – and entertained him the best we could so that he didn’t cry too badly. And he did cry, he was literally wailing despite being a quiet boy in normal life.

    We figured when the shillings would take place and used the breaks to get outside for a 30-minute breather. My mom would wake up at 6 each morning and cook the meals, under the sounds of distant explosions. When the planes would fly by, she would shut off the gas and run to us into the basement.

    Just reminiscing of this makes me hold back tears and get goosebumps all over my body. 8 March 8th is not only Women’s Day now, but also the day of our rescue. God gave us a second life this day, guiding us out of the horror we’d been in…

    “Mom, why is it plane day today? Why are they flying here? Why do they want to kill us? Mom, I want to go home!”

    My daughter Emilia is 4 years old. Never would I have imagined that from such a young age she would be hearing about the war, instead of princess fairy tales. And not even from history textbooks, but from her own life…

    The hardest thing in this situation is that you cannot lie and tell ‘those are our planes’ – you just can’t. Because in response you’ll hear: “No, mom, they are evil. They drop bombs at us!” And it’s hard to argue with that. And even harder to argue with a 4 year old girl! We spent two first and most scary weeks in the basement, slept on concrete, snuggled up to the floor each time we heard blasts and planes nearby. The child has seen it all with her own eyes. At 4 she realizes the whole terror of the war.

    Now, while on the phone with her granny or grandpa, she asks for one thing: – Do you hear fighter jets flying by? Did you hear air-raid sirens today or was it quiet?

    Even her drawings changed. Before the war she drew happy mom and dad. Her last picture before the war: daddy gives mommy flowers. During the war she drew a plane that saves us all from bombs exploding on the ground.

    War through the eyes of 4-year-old Emilia

    Dear children, you are so little, yet you have lived through so much. Your dad and I will always protect you.

    If not for kids we would have fallen in despair, but they are our motivation, they are the reason why we get up every morning no matter what and they are the ones that make us smile. We want tranquility and peaceful skies; we want our kids to have a joyful childhood and full family.

    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: Yulia Zarudnitska | Translation: Andriy Zhenzherukha

    Life under fire

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