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  • Українці розповідають про пережите під час війни з росією

    Ukrainians talk about their experiences during the war with russia

    Occupied Bucha

    Victoria Gaidai: “Knowledge that Kyiv is ours gave us the strength to live and fight”

    Life under fire

    АвторAuthor: Inna Molchanova | Translation:

    28 April 2022

    Volunteer with many years of experience Victoria Gaidai from the first day of full-scale war with her son Vlad was at the epicenter of hostilities – Bucha, Kyiv region. They hid from shelling, hail and mines in the basement of their house without water, medicine, light and heat. Together with them – and other residents: children, adolescents, the elderly. Every day was like the last. Miraculously, they managed to escape and take with them everyone they could. A completely different girl, Oleksandra, went with Victoria at the request of her mother. She remained in the occupied city.

    We were in Bucha all the time, two kilometers from Gostomel airport. Every day I thought it was the end. There was a sweep in our area, looking for Kadyrovites, who spread across the Bucha like cockroaches. It was restless in the morning. In our basement – seven children, two teenagers, the elderly. There was no network, sometimes only. Water, gas, light – too. There was food and we shared it with others. Hold on. Constant shelling continued under the windows, despite the fact that the Ukrainian flag was raised in Bucha at that time. A civilian was killed near my house. The guys from the Terror Defense said that a column of tanks was moving to Bucha again. We have always been at the epicenter of hostilities.

    Vlad had a concussion. It’s so scary when your child has blood in his nose, ears and he chokes on it. The first days were scary, when they could call, the only question that interested me was whether Kyiv was taken and the knowledge that Kyiv is ours gave us strength to live and fight. When they found the radio, they lived from news to news. It was a little easier for me, because I was a little ready, I knew something about Donbass (I was driving a humanitarian, – ed.). My grandfather stayed in the Kharkiv region in the occupied territories.

    So we stayed for two weeks, under siege, in the basement, when Russian tanks were 50 meters from us. Constantly hail, air defense, mortars. I don’t know how we survived, because we were shot in the area like dogs.

    One night was very scary. Everyone said goodbye because we didn’t believe we would survive. Sitting with backpacks, who had dogs, the leash was wrapped around his arm to run away if he hit the house. How to get out from under the blockages, we calculated and prepared in advance. My son thanked me for raising him, loving him, dressing him, teaching him. A resident of Olenka nearby also told her son how much she loved him. Everyone was united. And everyone was for Ukraine as never before. The night was horrible, when they went out, they saw corpses in the area, but I will never forget this feeling of unity.

    The basement

    This was the look of the basement where Victoria and her son were hiding

    On the positive side! I will never celebrate March 8 again, but I will remember it every time. On this day, a local resident, risking his life, gave flowers to all the women in my house, because he flew to the flower stall. It was poignant. All the women who hadn’t washed since the 25th smiled. And in general it was the only quiet day. The orcs got drunk and slept, our child was even able to get out of the basement and breathe a little air. The girl Alina also came to us. Her mother is deprived of parental rights, her grandmother is raising her. She asked to hug her because it was scary.

    We left by a miracle, by car. She took everyone she could. Another girl, Oleksandra, was taken away. Her mother works in a shop near my house, she came to work in the morning, she took her daughter with her, because she registered her at the dentist. And ended up in our basement. I can’t imagine how her mother felt when she asked a stranger to take her daughter out of the war, and if she was killed, I didn’t have enough strength to raise her. Three Russian checkpoints passed. One of them was the most difficult, because it was carefully searched. It was humiliating and scary. On the way, the orcs dropped off a seventeen-year-old boy, who is now alive. We arrived in Bila Tserkva, washed up and headed for Kolomyia.

    In general, our people are desperate. The girl’s aunt Oleksandra from Kyiv came to Bucha to find out how her mother and brother did. The guy is blind, so he can’t leave by himself. She found them alive and looked for options to leave or evacuate from the city. In Kolomyia we celebrated the twelfth anniversary of Alexandra. She was recently able to meet her mother. Her father and grandmother are still in occupied Bucha. The hardest thing to learn about the death of those who were with you, could not leave and died. I left my wounded friend there because I had a choice: either take the children away or her alone. And now she dreams of me every night. I don’t know what’s next. There is no work, because they bombed whether there will be housing – I do not know, but whether we will ever return to Bucha and whether it will be – it is unknown. I do not want to go abroad. I want to go home, I want to live on my land!

    Translated by Iryna Myronenko

    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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