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  • Українці розповідають про пережите під час війни з росією

    Ukrainians talk about their experiences during the war with russia

    Oksana Savchenko

    Oksana Savchenko: “My main motivation is to tease orcs”


    АвторAuthor: Yuliya Osadcha | Translation:

    14 May 2022

    Oksana Savchenko, co-owner of a pylon dance studio, put her activities on hold with the help of the Ukrainian army. The Cherkasy woman took her two daughters to another country, and she volunteered and started collecting cars for the Armed Forces. Moreover, the woman herself drives them from abroad.

    Hi, I’m the new Ksyu. I am tired, like every Ukrainian in the country and abroad. And I no longer have the strength to cry. But I have the strength and help the guys to fight and save their lives at the expense of delivered cars. Mobility and the ability to move quickly on the front line is now crucial.

    Somewhere after the weapons, if I had to deliver planes and planes, I would do it. But there is a small volunteer front in Europe and Ukraine with people buying school work to get cars to the front, east and south. That snipers, scouts, sappers, stormtroopers remained alive and could continue to perform tasks. That victory was for Ukraine. And to lose what we have today were not in vain. The guys are important and tireless in protecting us, and we have to help them.

    Where it all began

    My mother has been a volunteer at the Army Assistance Center since 2014, and all this time she and her colleague Oksana Tsyganok went to the front. I was told at the time: “Ksenia, you have small children, stay at home, entertain them.” And on February 24, when the full-scale offensive began, my mother was on vacation. She called me and said: “I take the tickets, fly home and told the military to help.” My husband told me that it was necessary to evacuate the children. I replied: “Sorry, darling, but this time it will not work, I will be here to help.” So I called my mother-in-law and agreed that she would have children. Then I evacuated the children and the mother with the youngest daughter’s classmate. She took them to Hungary, then they flew to Italy. And I took my mother near the Polish border and we went to Cherkasy.

    “It simply came to our notice then.  I did not know how to help the country win.  I grabbed everything: for the evacuation of people, for the resettlement of refugees, for the humanitarian civilian and military, for the transfer to the front, for the delivery of goods;  for small good deeds;  for ammunition and optics and much, much more. “

    I tried to understand everything here and now. She lost touch with herself and reality. I sat down and thought about my skills and in this situation I can prove myself the best, because all I can do is dance, drive vehicles and organize processes. So I chose the last two skills. But I am sure that dancing is not far off.

    The first experience

    My mother hoped that I would provide feedback to the Army Assistance Center, helping to reach the highest level, find contacts abroad, and develop social media pages. The first day I came after the Army Relief Center, I burst into tears. I didn’t know what to do, where to call. So it turned out that Oksana Tsyganok was approached by volunteers from western Ukraine, who contacted Ukrainian volunteers abroad in Finland. At that time there was a request to bring an ambulance. I volunteered to deliver it. Although I have never ridden an ambulance or a bus.

    You know, when you process requests like “Load a truck from three points”, and then it comes half-loaded second-hand. You can’t control it, you can’t see who gets it. You work constantly, but do not feel the result of your work. Although it is extremely important, and I just did not cope with it. It was very difficult for me. And here is a specific task, a specific machine, so it’s easier for me.

    First I need to get to Przemyśl, my husband Vasyl from Finland had to come there and hand me the car. He didn’t know who I was. They bought this car just to get it where it needed to be. We had a request for Azov. This was in early March. Their medical unit was located in Kyiv. We decided there was a need. It was salvation for them. They then traveled in such directions as Bucha, Irpin and Gostomel.

    I remember sitting in a McDonald’s in Przemyśl for five hours waiting for Vasily. He arrived at night. He didn’t know me. It was a kind of test of humanity. When you don’t know people, and you need to give her the car keys and she’s going nowhere. Vasyl helped me a lot, he stayed with volunteers in Rzeszów at night, introduced me to other volunteers, and asked me to deliver a woman from Chervonohrad with a very large box. She was very worried that a young girl would be behind the wheel. My husband met me at the border. We have already reached Cherkasy by two cars. Everything went great.

    Help to survive

    Help to survive in hell “Find and deliver cars”

    My mother and Oksana Tsyganok have a lot of contacts with the military. I don’t have a father on the front line, for example, and I need to assemble a thermal imager or a car. Or there is a brother, matchmaker or someone else. There is an Army Assistance Center, which is approached by the military with inquiries.

    I contacted the military, they said there was a great need for transport. They told the story of how businessmen in Kyiv just gave the guys their cool cars: they just gave the car keys and left. I wrote a post where I addressed well-known public figures in Cherkasy.  I think someone can see.  Ordinary people may donate to the army, donate or donate cars cheaply.  It did not meet with any support.

    Our volunteers contacted Cherkasy deputies. They said that they were already “on the break”. Everything that was possible has already been given and what can be helped. I was a little disappointed, thinking what to do next.

    The Army Assistance Center has a coordinator, Ivanka, and her husband serves. They have a machine gun on the pickup, he walks on it. That pickup is already falling apart. Ivanka says: “We really need money for a new car on the front line. I have a maximum of one third. ”  I wrote to my girlfriend to advise what to do.  A friend says, “Give me the card number.”

    “I have never raised money in my life.  Maximum – charity training, when we collected the cost of animal shelters.  And here to collect such large sums of money is a very big responsibility.  A lot of people supported me.  It seems that many people trust me and love me”.

    This is not only my merit. There are a lot of inquiries in the Army Assistance Center. That is, I collect exactly what requests, but in the center of them much more. Here I have two thousand dollars, and we have no more. Save money to buy a vehicle. It happens as a team. The volumes are already high that you need to come together and do everything very quickly.

    The greatest difficulties

    Among the main components of the race car from abroad – to find decent, competitive cars for not all the money in the world. Because the machines are not long-lasting, some may be for one task, others will last for two weeks. God forbid she will live a month. Therefore, it is simply not possible to buy cars for 15 thousand dollars apiece. And budget options due to demand have risen in price, and many cars have already been exported. Fortunately, many people are engaged. There is a need – there is a proposal. It is becoming harder to find normal cars every day.

    I am very grateful that there is a Union of Ukrainian Organizations in Estonia. They know cars, go watch them. To do this, add a hundred, two hundred, three hundred or more kilometers. They search for these cars by advertisements, then negotiate with the owners, drive to see if they need to be driven to the service station, and they deliver them to the Polish border at the expense of their charitable contributions. It is also becoming difficult for them to find cars, it is already becoming financially difficult.

    “It is especially difficult to catch a shortage of fuel.  “Just tonight, before visiting from Warsaw, I asked the guys for a canister and poured diesel right in front of the border, but I’m still a girl! time I ask for help from other drivers “. 

    There was something that was at a distance from the Polish border and to Cherkasy no fuel at all.  When my mother was traveling from the east, she had to stop by truckers and ask for fuel. Our women can do absolutely anything.  Probably not just because they deal with women.  It is possible that in some respects some issues are easier for us to resolve and it is difficult. 

    About the state customs

    Checkpoint and state customs. How much personal pain in these phrases. My mother says: “Write about customs, Ukraine should know what is happening there.” And in my head here are these stupid thoughts that not everything is so clear and there are also good customs officers. Doesn’t resemble anything? Shame on me. That’s why I will write. I will not touch zero customs clearance now. I did not do that and did not understand why our state arranged this hell in wartime.

    But everything is in order. There is customs. This is an important state structure that operates within the existing legislation and regulations. This is the norm, and it should be. Both in peacetime and in wartime. But I have a few BUT.

    The story is this. On the territory of Ukraine we have several checkpoints along the border. Some of them have a cargo lane, a pedestrian crossing and separate premises of customs and Polish on the territory of Ukraine in the tens or hundreds of meters. And also some small checkpoints, on which the premises of both Polish and Ukrainian customs under one roof.

    And I have a big question about the big checkpoints… Such as Krakivets, Shehyni, Rava-Ruska. What is the universal criterion for employment?

    Why the customs officer, whose main job, damn, he / she performs one shift or a maximum of years, selects the text on the keyboard and carefully enters the data into the system, does it with two fingers ?! He lays out papers on the table for a long time, then breathes hard… This is only after I have to wait in line to accept declarations, then fill them out by hand, run to another office for photocopying three times… First they say make a copy of the letter, then a copy of the declaration,  then the technical passport… But the last rose was progress: for photocopies I was not taken, because the documents are for the military. It was the third month of the war… fuck 

    Donations of caring

    Oksana Savchenko with a car that can be purchased thanks to the donations of caring

    Why is there a need for military vehicles to stand in line with truckers to the customs window and not fight a bit?  First to one weather window, then another room and at least two or three more offices.

    Why does only one window for passport control work for everyone? Why at the Ukrainian customs the change takes 40-50 minutes, and at the Polish maximum 15? They load the system faster or something? Are there any new computers?

    Why do customs officers sit in offices with such facial expressions as if they have digestive problems? Why can they tell jokes and do their job slowly when there is a war in YOUR country? And talk in the presence of a civilian on the phone with another?

    “Why do you need to cry so that you are still noticed and distracted from unhurried conversations. Why the hell with everyone?”

    I do not understand. Why does a civil servant believe that he has the right to behave superficially?

    Why do people say at a small checkpoint: “Get in the car, don’t freeze. We will do the scans ourselves, we will fill everything and you will go, ”and the big ones need to lose consciousness? And it’s not about the number of cars and the amount of work. The case in the system. When you work there or it happens often, it may seem that way. That this is the norm .. All these queues of 20 kilometers, incomprehensible actions… That’s right, when you go there, at least for the third time and the wrong algorithm, it will start, that’s right. And only so it is possible. But this is not the case. It is not normal.

    But it’s scary not to get worse.


    Road. This word has a sacred meaning for me. I adore. This is where I am. This is where the result depends on my operational decisions. This is where the new challenges are happening, which I know I can handle. Because, flipping through the news feed about Mariupol, about new losses… I just want to curl up in a ball. And behind the wheel of a car for the Armed Forces, I’m doing business. I clearly understand that every task on the way is within my power.

    And I just like it. I like to be able to think calmly or vice versa to turn off and be out of the zone.

    I like to meet new wonderful people along the way. I like to do at least something useful.

    The road as meditation

    The road as meditation

    I like the feeling of freedom.  When I know that the police of any country is my friend.  That every soldier at the checkpoint and in the convoy of equipment is my defender and hope.  That the government and its body are servants of the people .  And I have no need to be afraid of them.  And I dream that every Ukrainian should have such an attitude towards them. 

    Friends, thank you very much for you! For your support and trust. The war took a lot. But it also showed who is who in our land with you. Yes, for me personally, I discovered a lot of PEOPLE

    “If you want to be a defenseless girl who is protected and cared for… Who can say: “Yes, baby, I decided everything. Rashists are already eating the ground. No one is left alive in our Ukraine”.

    But until I hear that, I’ll go on my own. Serve balls, wheelbarrows, medicines, delicacies. I’ll have to shoot, I’ll shoot. And don’t say that women have no place in war. This WAR is not a place on our earth! The rest does not matter.

    My house is on the edge

    What I hear and see every day. Some people have a partial or complete misunderstanding of the present and indifference. These are our borders on the territory of Ukraine and beyond.

    “My house on the edge” fulfills the proposal the most. When you yourself are relatively safe and just fold your paws, you wait for the Armed Forces and the authorities to decide and there will be victory. Or did something to tick or soothe your conscience and still sit. I’m being bombarded here… I’m sorry. “

    Or there is a position. I call it “taught by bitter experience.” This is when you met an ungrateful immigrant whom you sheltered. Or you see with your own eyes or hear about the deriban of the humanist. Or met on the way a not very polite military / volunteer / official… Or you can’t get on your head like the military on the front line lacks ammunition / communications / cars… (How so?).

    “Or you were “thrown” for money when you tried to help. Or fuck everyone. Or you have so many personal problems: family, work, children, finances, health… that you stupidly have no resources. Completely. Dozens more “or”…

    I listened to everyone during this time. Just yesterday, a man from Poland came to me by chance through the social network. He has his own transport company, he switches to hybrids and sells his fleet. He has many beads and he wants to help the army. He told the story that from the beginning of the war he was very involved in humanitarian aid – he sent trucks with humanitarian aid to orphanages, sent cars. He did not know where they went, no report was received.

    “He glued green stickers on his diaper, then he was photographed with the same diapers he had seen on store shelves in western Ukraine. He was very disappointed, so he stopped doing it. Unfortunately, Poles have a lot of such stories. But he is still ready to help. “

    So what am I for? Every minimal movement in the direction of victory is important. Who has the resources to create huge funds. Someone throws everything and goes to the front or plows into the rear. Who makes stew, braids, receives money every week, creates / buys / delivers / disseminates information / goes to rallies / voices his position loudly and clearly (the latter is EXTREMELY).

    And you can find a bunch of answers: “How can I be useful?” But your phrases like: “people have become more aggressive because of the war”, “I’m not a public figure, who needs it?”, “Everyone already knows that war, why reposts?”, “What will it give? “,” I do not decide anything “… And today we have a really great power. The power to win your place in it. And to be not just a national minority in something there. And to become a proud and invincible nation.

    “It’s time, people.  Push this inferiority complex in the ass.  It is necessary here and now.  Or we trumpet as a people.  We have the power to influence.  Every small and big ACTION consists of our future and the future of our children”.

    So that it would not be a shame for them or for the boys and girls who give their lives and strength every day for the future of Ukraine.

    Personally, I have already collected six cars, bought them and delivered them. Now they are collecting money for a bead for Cherkasy Terrorist Defense medics who were in Popasna. Now they have regrouped. She also simply drove cars for volunteer organizations, fulfilling requests for military units, many times, about 20. We transported families from Mariupol, who returned via Estonia from Russia. Their rashis were forcibly removed from the city. And I took my grandmother and a cat out of Kharkiv from the shelling, and also transported a car with children’s things to Poland for the family. Plus constant parcels, transfers to the front.

    Car for defenders

    Fighters thank Oksana for another “Swallow”

    I have heard many times: “As you are a good Ksenia, you were able to find a place in this chaos and will be useful.” It is so. I believe in that. But boys and girls, don’t give up. Only all together we are by force. It is not the time to measure the suffering experienced, who did what or who helped a lot. With everyone if possible. Today I CAN. So I ask for your help. It’s hard to raise money right now, that’s understandable. But I do not cease to amaze Ukrainians who work miracles.

    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: Yuliya Osadcha | Translation:


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