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  • Українці розповідають про пережите під час війни з росією

    Ukrainians talk about their experiences during the war with russia

    Liubov Kroshchenko

    Liubov Kroshchenko: “Russians didn’t manage to reach us, so they fired the missiles deliberately”

    Life under fire

    АвторAuthor: Inna Molchanova | Translation: Roman Klochko

    30 May 2022

    For more than two weeks, pensioner Lyubov Kroshchenko lived in the war zone, in a country village near Kozarovychi, Vyshhorod district, Kyiv region. Under the constant roar of enemy planes, explosions of shells, without electricity and gas, the woman took care of pets, as she had a large population of chickens, ducks, rabbits, goats, more than a dozen cats and dogs that wandered from war-torn households. When the rocket completely destroyed Lyubov’s house, she was miraculously saved by a dog.

    We found ourselves in a shooting area

    In our place, shooting started in the first day [of war] and by evening the orcs had already occupied the villages of Kozarovichi, Demidovo, all the way. There was smoke, rockets were flying from one side or the other. We found ourselves in a shooting area. There were only four people on our street. We continued to live because we did not think we would be shot and bombed. We expected that they were about to stop.

    I had been hiding in the basement for some ten days. Later, I got accustomed to shooting. Unfortunately, a human accustomes to everything. Firstly, the first cottage was destroyed. Later, shells started hitting houses constantly, destroying them partly or completely.

    I was scared but didn’t think about moving out as I had many pets: one goat, rabbits, chickens, ducks, nine cats, six dogs (because of strangers). I needed to take care of them.

    A second passed and there was an explosion

    On the afternoon of March 6, rockets flew very hard. It became quiet in the evening. I was in the house. There was no more electricity or gas, I slept dressed, in a tanned sheepskin coat, because it was cold. I had never taken a dog home to spend the night before, but that day I did. Then I  thought, “I’ll go outside and see what’s there.”

    “It was 23:15. I was just at the door, and Bim rushed to my feet. Apparently, he was scared that I was leaving. I tripped over him and fell. At that moment, I heard how a shell flew overhead”.

    A second passed and there was an explosion, a hanger with things fell on me, windows, doors, everything fell on me.

    A house was completely ruined by the shell

    I think that I lost consciousness from the explosion and lay unconscious for about an hour. Then somehow got up. I felt as if someone had hit me hard on the head. The dog must have been hit a little too, because he fell to the ground for a while and lay down. I went out into the yard. My house was completely destroyed by a shell. It broke the roof, the second floor, smashed the windows and frames, and skewed the front door. In the yard, everything was wiped out: a garage, barn, car, greenhouses.

    The house of Lyubov Kroshchenko, where the shell flew

    The house of Lyubov Kroshchenko, where the shell flew

    Nearby in the next house lived two builders, doing repairs. There were shouts from there: “Kolya! Kolya! ” It turned out that one of them was killed. We tried to call an ambulance and police, to pick up the corpse, but nobody arrived.

    “You have fighting going on,” they said on the other side of the phone. 

    The corpse lay for four days, then we buried it near the local church and put a cross. The day after we woke up early in the morning and the church was completely destroyed.

    Almost 100 houses completely destroyed

    One day a neighbor made coffee and invited me to visit. I came at 6 a.m. and at that moment a plane was flying near my house and dropping rockets again. The houses began to burn. My neighbour’s bathhouse was broken and all the fragments flew at us. Bim and I fell to the ground. After my house was destroyed, Bim did not move away from me, he kept to me because he was frightened.

    Ruins of the house of Lyubov Kroshchenko

    Ruins of the house of Lyubov Kroshchenko. Garden society “Morske”

    By that time, the Russians had already bombed many houses. There were about four hundred houses in our garden society, almost a hundred of which were completely destroyed, not counting those with broken windows, doors or roofs. 

    One woman’s house on our street survived, another neighbor’s house was also intact, but all the windows were smashed, everything inside was smashed, although a week before the war repairs were made. Two more houses burned down completely. Nearby, the roof of a neighboring house was demolished, everything inside was destroyed. In the house across the street windows and a roof are broken.

    Our military came

    Then, on March 12 or 11, our soldiers came to me and asked me to leave. It was necessary to clean up the enemy from our territory. My children also asked me to move out a long time ago. At that time a neighbor who was also engaged in farming visited me.

    “Come on,” he says, “I’ll take your animals with me.  I’m not going anywhere anyway.”

    He lived on the other side of the road, there was less bombing. His barn was partially destroyed, so there was a place to settle and my farm. I agreed and we carried the animals. I took Bim with me to my children’s place in Kyiv.

    The capital was also bombed. My daughter with husband and two children left for Lviv, and I was living in their apartment. I came home from time to time with a neighbor.

    “The nearby villages of Kozarovychi, Demydovo, and Ivankiv were flooded because our defenders blew up the dam. Maybe, Russian failed to reach us because of this so they vented their anger by deliberately firing missiles at civilians”.

    Every second house was hit. Whole families were dying, it was hell.

    I couldn’t sleep at all. I closed my eyes, and when I opened it, I saw the ruins of the house hanging over me again. It’s scary for other people, for children, for everything that is happening in the country today.

    I would never have thought in my life that these villains could torment the civilian population, kill and bomb.

    I want to fix everything

    I lived in the capital for a while, and in early May the children brought me back home. I cleaned the ruins of the house and covered the roof. Windows are boarded up. Bim is already sleeping with me inside the house, on my jacket. Eight cats are walking in the yard. I have already repaired the gates. Also, I am repairing the barn and going to pick up my animals on the weekend. All the shattered glass is collected and taken out from the yard – totally, it was 12 full wheelbarrows. I want to rebuild and fix everything but there’s a war and who knows when it will end…

    The street of the garden society "Morske", where the woman lived

    The street of the garden society “Morske”, where the woman lived

    The sappers came because there was something like a very large rocket head in my garden. Then they put it in a box and took it out. I asked them, “Has it exploded yet?” “You don’t need to know,” they said.

    I really want this horror to end as soon as possible. I want that our defenders would meet their loved ones. Tell them about our gratitude. Low bow to their protection.

    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: Inna Molchanova | Translation: Roman Klochko

    Life under fire

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