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  • Українці розповідають про пережите під час війни з росією

    Ukrainians talk about their experiences during the war with russia

    Bombing of Kharkiv

    Nataliia Nikitina: “Every night I have nightmares about bombing as if I come back home and get under shelling”

    Life under fire

    АвторAuthor: Inna Molchanova | Translation:

    22 May 2022

    Life in the beloved city, the happiness of being a mother, and the feeling of confidence about the future. This was the life of Nataliia Nikitina from Kharkiv until the first Russian missiles exploded in the peaceful sky. Then the hell of war started, as well as the fear of her two-year-old son because every day the enemy could steal his childhood. Nataliia says that she wouldn’t forgive herself if she didn’t take care of the safety of her child she had been waiting for so long. So she went into the unknown, as there was no other choice.

    Our “Saltivka” district has been under shelling since the beginning of the war. I didn’t understand what was happening for the first 2 days. For the next 5 days, I lived in hell. My son Nikita and I spent the first night in the basement of our house, but it was very hard for him. The next night we stayed at home. We constructed an improvised bed in the hallway and the bathroom. On the second day of the war, the missile hit the power grid. There was no electricity in our house. It was impossible to fix the supply because of constant shelling, so we sat in the dark until the last minute. On the third night, we heard the sound of Russian aircraft and decided to go down to the basement, but for some reason, it was closed. It was one of the worst moments: I was running from the ninth floor in complete darkness, with a child and bags, because the elevators turned off on the first day. Then – on a dark deserted street to the sound of explosions, and then running back again, when it turned out that the basement was closed.

    Just not in our house, please

    There was complete horror in Kharkiv. They were ruthlessly firing at civilians. They were destroying my beloved and beautiful hometown right before my eyes. I decided to leave immediately at the moment Nikita and I were sitting in a dark bathroom, hugging and being wrapped in three duvets. At the same time, somewhere above the house, shells were thundering so loudly. It seemed as if they were overhead and something inevitable would happen. The son didn’t listen, he couldn’t sit still, and he felt hot and uncomfortable. He didn’t understand what was all of this for and why his mother was constantly crying and sometimes screaming in helplessness. I had to hold him by force, he was screaming and breaking out, and I just whispered: “Please, not yet, just not in our house, please.”

    I was packing things at night, illuminating with a flashlight. I took the necessary minimum for Nikita, and only underwear and socks for me. Oh, wait, I also put a favorite pair of jeans and a sweater in my bag. And perfumes. You know, I once received a question from a follower: “If you could take only one perfume from your collection, which one would you take with you?”. I answered something randomly then, not even realizing that this moment could happen in my life. I took Killian “Playing with the devil” – a very iconic perfume for me. My spirit of freedom. And I believe that when it’s all over, I’ll return home and my collection will be waiting for me. The bag was already packed, food and water too. I just couldn’t gather myself together.

    Went into the unknown

    We were leaving in a hurry, early in the morning, on March 3, right after the end of curfew. At that time Russians paused the shelling, from six to eight in the morning. There was a chance to move through the city more or less safely. We were going in my cousin’s car: my son and I, my parents and my younger sister. At first, we were heading to Dnipro and couldn’t even imagine that in four days we’d get on the train and go into the unknown, thousands of kilometers away from home. One morning we just got on the “Dnipro-Helm” evacuation train. It was quite a night on the train. There were ten of us in our compartment, two of them were two-year-old kids. And we were lucky because in the next car people were standing. It wasn’t allowed to turn on the lights because of blackout rules. In Helm, our friends met and took us to the Netherlands.

    Our cat Persyk was with us. I would never leave him, although when we were escaping, it seemed like everything would finish soon, but unfortunately… They allowed me to take Persyk on the train without any problems, but, to be honest, I didn’t ask anyone for permission. In Helm, Persyk was chipped and vaccinated against rabies because I didn’t have documents for it, but in the EU it’s required for all animals to be chipped and vaccinated.

    Every night I see the same nightmare

    We’re safe now, although I still have nightmares about bombing every night as if I come back home and get under shelling. The same nightmare every night. It’ll take a long time before my psyche recovers, but it doesn’t matter.

    I check the news every day. They hit our friends’ house, the market, which is located 300 meters from my house, Gorky Park. The missile hit a house next door, where Nikita and I walked by every day. A neighbor said that the frame on my balcony flew out. I don’t know if I still have a home. Kharkiv region is also my home because I was born there. I’m originally from Merefa, Kharkiv district. I spent my childhood there, I have friends and relatives left at that place. My mother studied at school №6 in the same city. Now it has also been destroyed by air bombs.

    It’s only my son who I love more than my homeland so I decided to escape for him. I miss Ukraine very much. I want all this mess to end as soon as possible so we can return home.

    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:

    Life under fire

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