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  • Українці розповідають про пережите під час війни з росією

    Ukrainians talk about their experiences during the war with russia

    A car that burned down after shelling

    “The constant whistling of shells overhead was no longer so frightening, but the night bombing of the city was really terrifying.” The story of a man from Chernihiv who lived through the siege of the city

    Life under fire

    АвторAuthor: Anastasia Milenko | Translation: Yuliia Demchuk

    28 October 2022

    32-year-old Yevhen (name changed at the request of the person who told this story) from Chernihiv lived an ordinary life – he worked, rested, was fond of archery, and planned to get married. At the beginning of the year, he proposed to his girlfriend, but the war changed the couple’s plans. While Chernihiv was under siege and under constant shelling, Yevhen and his bride remained in the city. He told Monologues of the War about the first days of the siege, about shelling, airstrikes and about the humanitarian situation in Chernihiv.

    Until February 24, I never thought that a direct full-scale invasion of our country would begin. Yes, there was quite a lot of information about training on the border and a possible offensive. But I hoped and believed that the leadership of the russian federation still has at least a little bit of brains in its head so as not to attack a sovereign country in the 21st century. As practice has shown, there is nothing like that.

    On the morning of February 24, my girlfriend woke me up and said that putin made a statement about a special operation in Ukraine. We understood that war had been unofficially declared on us. Air raid sirens immediately went off in the city, loud explosions were heard. For the first few hours it was difficult to accept the fact that the war had really begun. But this is reality, and there is no getting away from it. We couldn’t influence the events that unfolded further in any way.

    Shelling happened regularly and practically didn’t stop. If it was quiet in one part of the city, explosions and shooting could be heard in another. It was especially scary at night and in the morning, when a plane was flying over the city and dropping bombs on residential buildings. On February 25, two shells hit the building of the Security Service of Ukraine, and battles were fought daily in the region. The next day, they began shelling the city from Grads – they hit the hospital and destroyed many houses. Two days later, the invaders hit the city center.

    Destroyed buildings in Chernihiv

    Many buildings in Chernihiv were destroyed

    They bombed a lot at night, when people tried to rest and get some sleep after an exhausting day in the siege. At the beginning of March, an airstrike was carried out on the local hospital, and Myru Avenue was shelled. On March 3, many people were killed in Chernihiv – schools, private houses and residential high-rise buildings were attacked en masse. During the next day, systematic artillery shelling continued throughout the whole city. We just prayed to wake up one more morning. And it was like this every God’s day, until our soldiers drove them away from the city.

    “The whole house was shaking, and it would not have saved us from a direct hit”

    We were hifing in a private house in an ordinary basement. The whole house was shaking, and it wouldn’t have saved us from a direct hit, but what can you do – you don’t have a choice at such moments. We could only hope that the next hit wouldn’t be for our house. The constant whistling of shells overhead was no longer so frightening, but the night bombing of the city was really teriffying. Words cannot describe the feeling when there is complete darkness around you, you hear first a hum in the sky, and then a whistle and explosions from falling shells…

    Read also: “I sincerely love Ukraine, but at any moment I can be deported” — the story of a Russian who has been living in Kyiv for 6 years

    I remember one moment very well, when we were sitting under the wall with my girlfriend, and after missile hit we flew two meters away from it. It was the first real fear that the probability of dying was very high… It was on the 27th.

    “After our victory, first of all, we will celebrate a wedding”

    At that time, it was very difficult with the availability of medicines, as many pharmacies didn’t work, and those that were open were practically empty. There were also few products in the shops, but something could still be found. It became really difficult when there was no electricity, gas and water in Chernihiv… People had to go to the Stryzhen River and collect water from there. Humanitarian aid was distributed mainly when the russians withdrew from Chernihiv. Then it became much easier for many people. Before that, due to the threat of shelling, trucks with humanitarian aid were immediately unloaded.

    We didn’t even think about leaving. Rumors circulated in the city that russians were shooting civilians who tried to leave. Later, these rumors were confirmed. And where to leave? Apart from your home, you are not welcome anywhere.

    A bridge in Chernihiv

    A destroyed bridge that led to Chernihiv

    All hope was on the ZSU (Armed Forces of Ukraine), and they din’t let us down. We aren’t going anywhere, this is our home. And after our victory, first of all, we will celebrate a wedding, as we planned before the war.

    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: Anastasia Milenko | Translation: Yuliia Demchuk

    Life under fire

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