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  • Українці розповідають про пережите під час війни з росією

    Ukrainians talk about their experiences during the war with russia

    Mariupol April 2022

    Sukhorukova Nadiia “God left Mariupol. He was afraid of everything he saw”

    Life under fire

    АвторAuthor: Yuliya Osadcha | Translation:

    21 April 2022

    Nadiia Sukhorukova – is a journalist from the local TV channel in Mariupol. The woman has long been familiar with the war. She has repeatedly seen the consequences of hostilities in the war in Donbas (in Ukraine, we have called it  anti-terrorist operation). But until February 24, 2022, her life was relatively peaceful. Mariupol woman lived an everyday life: she worked, travelled, met with friends. To this day, she could not even imagine what the hell she would be in and that she would miraculously be able to escape from the besieged city. In her’s Mariupol’s diary, Nadiya talks about the horrors and endless deaths that locals still suffer.

    Anya from Odesa, Alyona from Kramik (Kramatorsk – author’s note), Natasha from Kharkiv, Galya from Irpin! We fell asleep in an anxious but relatively peaceful life, and the war woke us up.

    It doesn’t matter what we dreamed of happening a minute before waking up. The main thing is a rapid movement, from plans and hopes, even in the dark dawn, into the abyss of fear and despair. It’s as if you’ve been in the icy cold since the warm summer.

    Even in my sleep, I heard bangs and explosions. It is impossible to get used to this in eight years, but like an old pain, the fear has dulled. And then the editor Galya sent a message to the general group: “Everyone, people, wake up!”.

    It became clear that something terrible had started around. It grew to the sky. Blind Iron Death flew from there like rain. It was brought by the ugliest and vicious dwarf – a dictator, a cynical and crazy killer and a maniac. Millions of people have already cursed him, and after them, echoes will repeat the curse dozens of times more.

    We were scared, we are afraid now, but we will overcome this fear and throw it far into space, into a black hole. In the same way, we will throw aggressive and vile invaders out of our land. They have no idea how strong we are.

    February 27, 2022

    It turns out that there can be no more extended plans. And we need to live only today. To think about tomorrow is a great luxury. And everything is great, not when you have a luxury phone, you went to a fabulous resort or bought a new apartment. It turns out that all this also does not matter. As well as the amount of money, praise at work and the number of likes on FB.

    It turns out that the main thing is not so much. It is your life, the lives of loved ones, friends, and people around you. Your house was whole, your city wasn’t shot from Grad, and your country wasn’t tortured.

    March 1, 2022

    We have no light, and there are interruptions in communication, Kyivstar (Ukrainian mobile network- translator’s note) does not catch at all, and the charge on the phone is running out. The shelling does not stop.

    The vile occupiers have already been annoying. What importunate creatures. They are sent to fuck them several times in every city, but they climb like cockroaches.

    “Mariupol is wonderful! Because strong and brave. The best warriors in the world are fighting for him”.

    And in the city, ordinary people, communal workers under fire, eliminate what the Russian occupiers are destroying and ravaging. Our municipal services work because the city needs to survive.

    I hate this Russian bastard. I had no idea that I could hate someone so much. These creatures do not live and do not allow others to live. I hope the universe will hear our curse and catch up with these freaks. Let Putin die. This is my most cherished dream. If you want, the wish will come true. And I want that very, very much. I suggest everyone wants this!

    March 2, 2022

    I want to sleep all the time. Constantly. It was as if a sleepy elephant had entered me. I bite my nose even during terrible shelling. I sit so calmly and count the explosions.

    Probably my body reacts to the danger. It freezes. I do everything on autopilot. I command the dog, grab the cat and run into the corridor. The cat has already come to terms with its fate of being captured and taken out into the hall. Yosya doesn’t even resist. And I don’t want to eat. Completely. I just can’t. 

    “And for some reason, I also do not want to drink. I turned into a camel. As the ship of the desert moves slowly, I chew a thorn for a long time and rarely drink. I think my internal fat stores are working now”.

    Today I met my little nephews. They came from a house next door, safer than my mother’s nine-story building because there is shelter. When I saw these babies, I realised how much I missed them. The merry-maker Kiryukha shouts and runs as if nothing had happened, and when the shelling begins, he takes his pillow with a blanket and goes to a safe place. Kids know how to do better than me. 

    “Dumpling” is very worried about the lessons. Her teacher sends homework, but not everything is done. She has to distract herself and go down to the basement constantly.

    Today the children slept in the basement, but there is almost no sound of Marik(Mariupol- translator’s note)  shelled with Grad and Smerch.

    I dream that these brutal shellings will finally end, and my beautiful city will wake up from this horror. But my most cherished wish is one. And I repeat it every day, like the mantra #putindierightnow.

    March 18, 2022

    #Mariupol #hope Hello, my dear. I am alive, and my life will be long now. But my city is dying a painful death. I have passed with him for twenty days. I was in hell.

    Everyone prayed and asked for the bomb to fly past us in our basement. When the ground shook beneath us, we exhaled. But past – it does not mean anywhere. Past – it means not us.

    Do you know what it’s like when the basement is always dark, a dim candle is burning, and you’re unsure day or night? When you need to have exceptional courage to get out of the porch. And you rush to everyone who came back with the question, what’s the news?

    “Nobody takes out the corpses of your neighbours and acquaintances. The dead lie on the porches, on balconies, yards. And you’re not scared at all. After all, your biggest fear is night shelling”.

    Do you know what night shelling looks like? To the death that takes all the veins out of you. You can’t sleep at night because peaceful dreams are dreamed. You emerge from them and plunge into horror. I’m not a hero, but an ordinary person scared to die. For the last three days, my city has been pounding every minute.

    It seems that all kinds of weapons have been tested on us in a few weeks. What difference does it make to them how to kill us? But no, they approach the murder process creatively and in different ways. I want to become a pea and roll into the cracks in the basement. Maybe there is a chance to survive?

    I want to say that I betrayed my red-haired Yosik out of fear. I left him at home. I didn’t have time to take it with her. I was afraid to go up to the apartment. I did not take him to the shelter the day before because he could get lost there. He had better get lost there. I left a gentle and kind cat in hell because I was broken. I’m scared to imagine him there. I am a cowardly traitor. And I have no forgiveness.

    People remained in this hell. They can’t leave. They were all abandoned. People are not guilty of anything, like my red-haired Yosik. Do not be cowardly traitors.

    My neighbour said that God left Mariupol. He was afraid of everything he saw. She said this a week ago, and the day before yesterday, just before our departure, she ran to our basement compartment with a message that the house, second from our,  was on fire. “He has some weird orange flame,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. Pray, girls.”

    We did not know then that we would leave this city and this reality in half an hour.

    We sat and prayed. I read “Lord’s Prayer” and, for some reason, forgot the words. My husband taught me this prayer. I haven’t seen him since the beginning of the war. I am guilty before him. Because I visited my mother, I could not come to him. I want to hear his voice. I want another little chance to say the most important words, which did not speak while there was a connection.

    March 24, 2022

    In recent days, I have come across a frozen and indifferent substance. The only feeling that filled me to the brim was the feeling of animal fear. I was doomed. Want to know how I felt about the shelling? As an adult, I held my mother’s hand during the bombing and hugged her as a child when I wanted to hide after a terrible fairy tale.

    “My life has become a nightmare. The life of my city happened to hell. There were heroes around”.

    A week before that, Natalka came to me. My colleague. With husband and son. They walked around the city and shot videos. To show everyone this horror. I asked her, “What can I do?” She said, “Survive, Nadia. We need to survive.” Then two mines flew into her apartment and killed her husband. That was the first death close to us.

    And on March 15, my son’s birthday, I cried in the hallway that I couldn’t greet him and talk to him. What a funny nuisance. I cried not because of the constant bombing, not because people died, not because tomorrow might not come; I cried because I could not talk on the phone with my son.

    “I do not understand who the Russians fight with? With women and children? Why are they killing civilians? Why turn the city into ruins? I’m in despair. Thousands are suffering and dying in Mariupol. Help them survive”.

    And a minor miracle happened. There was a connection right at the entrance. My basement neighbours told each other that Kyivstar had been bombed, but one of the employees periodically turned on the generator and refuelled it so that people could talk for a minute and discover the news. And let it be impossible to call Mariupol, but we could inform relatives in other cities. Thanks to a stranger who allowed Mariupol to say one word every day to people who have gone mad from the unknown: “alive”.

    March 25, 2022

    There were 16 of us. Fortunately, we fled in two cars, broken through and without windows. Otherwise, the rashysts (how Russian soldiers are called in Ukraine) would have taken them away from us a long time ago. Friends said that the military had come to their house the day before. Originally Ukrainian. They looked around the house and wanted to dig in there. Two women ran out to meet them and began to beg: “Please, guys, get away from our home. We have children here in the basement. We have nowhere else to go. Before leaving, the soldiers offered them their field rations and then hugged the two women.

    A few hours later, Russian soldiers arrived. They did not respond to any requests, saying they did not care. They looked at the cars for a long time. The occupiers did not like the transport. Due to the shell that flew to a neighbouring house, the cars had an unpresentable appearance.

    Our friends came to pick us up in these cars on March 16. Our district was bombed all night as if they would turn it to ashes. Little nephews did not sleep. Their mother constantly pulled them off the mattresses and tried to take them somewhere. There was nowhere to go. The boy obediently complied with all requests.

    The horror lasted until morning. The two of us decided to go to the garage for a car. They bombed incessantly. My colleague was not sure that he would be able to open the garage door quickly. There were many keys in the connection. No one knew which one would come. At best, it would take ten minutes. During this time, ten shells could fly there. Ten times two people from our basement could die. But they were serious about leaving. They had to save the children.

    Something knocked on the front door; we decided it was an explosive wave. Then we heard voices. It was scary to open. We did not know what was happening on the street. It seemed to us that we heard automatic gunfire. We were afraid that the occupiers had come to our district and would fight in the streets. Someone shouted our name outside the door. Those were our friends. They came after us in damaged cars.

    “Children, dog, we, our mothers. They did not want to go. They thought they would not fit in the car. I didn’t take anything with me except a bag with documents. I slept with her all the time, did not take off my neck”.

    I did not dare to run to the apartment on the fifth floor. My Yosik stayed there. My gentle red cat. He wanted to go to our basement the night before, but we were afraid he would get lost there. In the morning, I could not follow him. I thought they would not wait for me. I was fearful that they would leave without me, and I just went crazy in this basement.

    I don’t think I was afraid of death anymore. I was scared to go crazy. Another night there, and my brain wouldn’t last. Constant bombardment and shelling broke something in me. I was not afraid to die; I wanted death. To not to hear these sounds, not to wait for arrivals and not to count the blows from which the earth trembles.

    We got in the car. My big labrador Angie turned into a dachshund and fit between my knees. Only her brown nose looked. She was trembling and crying.

    My mother stood at the entrance and said she would stay. She thought she just wouldn’t fit. I called her almost hysterically. I knew we had seconds to get away from the porch. Two cars full of people stood like targets in a dead street. Some houses had their hearts torn out. Shells pierced them. Our house was with broken glass but intact. I felt it was short-lived.

    Mom still got in the car. Miraculously, I, my mother and the dog fit in the front seat. Lyosha closed the car door. He did not go anywhere. He was the only one left standing at the entrance. He needed to find children. He is still in hell. This morning, Lesha tried to call me. I called back, but there was no connection.

    I am currently in Chornomorsk near Odessa. In my son. It was tough to leave. And not even because we were bombed and driving in a broken car, without windows and with holes from shells. Then everyone was shocked. Everyone in the vehicle prayed to get there, and the shots did not kill us. We were stopped by the occupiers and asked some questions. They all sounded like bullying. For example, isn’t it cold for your children in a car with broken glass? Close the windows; children will catch a cold. What caring creatures. They bombed houses, threw rockets at residential areas, bomb shelters with women and children, and now they are worried that Mariupol kids will not have a runny noses. Everything inside me turned upside down, like from shots.

    P.S. The occupiers forcibly deported Nadiia Sukhorukova’s husband to Russia. At the time of publication, there are still thousands of people in Mariupol. Every minute the Russian occupiers kill peaceful Ukrainians and their children. Residents of Mariupol live without electricity, water and heat. People are dying of hunger and thirst.

    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:

    Life under fire

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