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  • Українці розповідають про пережите під час війни з росією

    Ukrainians talk about their experiences during the war with russia

    Shelling of houses in Mykolaiv

    “We all have mental wounds”: how volunteers help Mykolaiv residents survive under shelling


    АвторAuthor: Iryna Hyliuk | Translation: Violeta Shenkariuk

    26 August 2022

    When their business stopped on February 24, the Frolov couple started volunteering. Every day, they feed lunches to the soldiers who defend Mykolaiv, and police officers, distribute food kits to the townspeople, and most importantly, they bring vital medicines from abroad. First-aid kits for raped women and men of the Kherson region with doctors’ recommendations are also handed over. Iryna-Khrystyna Frolova told the “Monologues of the War” project about how Mykolaiv survives under constant enemy fire.

    In my peaceful life, I am the director of LINCOR UKRAINE LLC. This is an engineering company engaged in heating, drainage, water supply, installation, and maintenance. We worked on an industrial scale, built large boiler rooms, and made ventilation systems in workshops. And we also have a recruiting company. We recruited and trained personnel for large enterprises. I am also a candidate of sciences in public administration and an associate professor. I live and work in Mykolaiv.

    The business has been suspended since February 24. Unfortunately, Mykolaiv is currently in a period of stagnation. Some objects of our customers, which we built, are destroyed.

    About a month before the war, my husband kept saying that there were prerequisites for it. That I keep the tank in the car full, that I have cash on hand. Our 15-year-old son was taught what he should do first in case of what.

    “His backpack was packed. He still went to school, then at night, he compiled textbooks and things. If nothing happened in the morning, he went to school with textbooks, and on February 24, he put things in his backpack and we took him outside the city to our parents in the direction of Odessa, where he stayed for the first two months of the war.”

    The Frolov are volunteers 

    Before the full-scale war, the Frolov‘s couple were engaged in business. The acquired connections and experience helped them in volunteering

    And in two months we realized that it would not end so quickly. There were already 16 arrivals per day. And when there was an explosion in the Mykolaiv Regional State Administration, my grandmother, who lives in the center of the city, had her windows blown out. We repaired them, covered them with film, and hammered them with boards. And then we decided to take all our relatives to Poland. And now my husband’s mother and my mother, two grandmothers, a son and pets live in Warsaw.

    My husband and I stayed in Mykolaiv and became volunteers. We started helping from the first day.

    “What is happening in Mykolaiv makes it hard to breathe”

    I saw an official report that for 150 days Mykolaiv was not bombed for only 23 days. And this means that people were in constant danger for 127 days. 24/7. Can you imagine what it means to live under bombing for 127 days in a row?

    You never know where they’re shooting. And you never know where the next shot will be. “The rockets come in the morning, the rockets come in the afternoon, the rockets come in the evening, the rockets come at night… The rockets always come.”

    Mykolaiv is being bombed without air warning signals because they simply do not have time to turn them on! We are being bombed as air raid sirens wail. This is terrible.

    Read also: “Until the last moment, I hoped that russia would not dare to launch a full-scale attack, but relying on 2014, I knew that someday it would happen,” – this is a story of a woman from Luhansk who is fleeing the war for the second time already

    There is no corner of the city or region where you can feel safe. There is no hour, minute, or second when you can relax. What is happening in Mykolaiv makes it difficult to breathe. It is sad when you see buses with people evacuating, going to seek shelter. It is sad when you see hungry and abandoned animals looking into your eyes, looking for warmth and food. These are difficulties for the townspeople with fuel, medicine, and work. And it happens, even with bread, cash, etc. These are emotional difficulties that are difficult to overcome.

    These are military men, of whom there are many in the city. These are tires at every intersection. These are fortifications, trenches, again military. Military everywhere. “These are abandoned elderly people. Abandoned for various reasons: the children left, they did not want to take their parents, or the parents did not want to go, or even the children died, and the old people were left alone. Who will help them now?”

    This is a dehydrated city. With two rivers of Mykolaiv without drinking water! In March, in the cold, when there was no water at all, people went into the river up to their knees and filled buckets. And now they are looking for drinking water. Residents of Mykolaiv are constantly seen on the streets with empty five-liter bottles.

    These are roadblocks with sad-eyed boys who, in the cold spring, warmed themselves by the potbelly stoves and were happy with cigarettes and pies.

    “These are separated families. These are constant sirens. These are night explosions. These are daytime explosions. Cluster bombs. Cruise missiles. This is a daily horror. These are bombed-out houses. These are wounded. These are the dead. These are tears. This is sadness. It’s painful.”

    How could we go from Mykolaiv? It was necessary to help the native city. If everyone leaves, who will stay?

    “If you are already a volunteer, you are responsible for people”

    We took on all the organizational work. We created a Telegram channel for Mykolaiv residents, in which all needy people leave requests for medicine. We buy them at our own expense. We are often contacted by the wounded or their relatives.

    “We give free medicines to the population, we bring from Poland and Moldova drugs that are not available in the pharmacy or are difficult to find. We check people in the Telegram channel and give to those who apply every day.”

    Recently, a 3.5-ton truck was presented to the factory Military Committee, because the boys really needed it. They asked and we collected.

    Every day, we bring 50 lunches for defenders from the city of Mykolaiv Oblast Warta. And until the middle of May, our police were also provided with breakfasts and lunches.

    We have been helping Mykolaiv Zoo since the first days of the war. We give them food products, medicines, and water for workers, and recently together with the company “Wilo Ukraine”, we donated a deep submersible pump for a well so that the animals in the zoo have water.

    If you are already a volunteer, you are responsible for people. For example, there are 5 families under our patronage, whom we help with food every week. We chose them ourselves. I wrote on Instagram to be contacted. We promised that we will help everyone who writes once, but we will choose 5 families that we will support for a long time to the best of our ability.

    For example, we have a case — a blind woman who recently underwent an operation. She had one eye removed, and a cataract in the other. The parents of her 18-year-old grandson died tragically earlier.

    “The guy was drafted into the army. He returned without two legs. In addition, his back is damaged and he cannot sit in a wheelchair. He will lie in plaster for another year… And this blind grandmother somehow takes care of him. People come to her, help, and we provide them with products.”

    And there is also a woman with a child and a mother, her husband died. 5 families — a total of 17 people whom we help with products.

    “But she doesn’t want to live anymore…”

    It so happened that I am currently receiving my fourth higher education. It just happened that way in life that I needed education in order to develop a business. My husband and I are studying for a master’s degree in engineering at the National Shipbuilding University named after Admiral Makarov. In July, the russians bombed both him and the university named after Sukhomlynskyi, where I previously studied foreign philology. It’s very sad… It’s like I was deprived of something important in one day.

    My third education is psychology. My husband and I opened a recruitment company, and we wanted to develop it in other countries, and for this, we had to have a higher specialized education. And we went to study psychology, and graduated with red diplomas. We really liked it and we were the best in our group.

    “And now this knowledge supports us. Plus, I have people whom I consult. And when you help others, it keeps you going and inspires you.”

    One day I was approached by a supervisor (a mentor, an experienced psychologist – editor’s note), she herself is from Kherson, but has now left. And she asked me to take at least one of the 3 cases that no one wanted to take on for counseling.

    The first case. The man volunteered. Brought bread and groceries to people and soldiers. The russian military caught him and went to his home. And there is a wife, a 4-year-old child, an elderly mother and father, and a small dog.

    Russians brutally raped a man right in his yard. They shoved a pipe into the anus, and a barbed wire was inserted into the pipe. Then that wire was pulled. The man was bleeding. He was beaten and mocked. They cut the dog. The animal whined. The woman was raped and beaten. Parents were raped and beaten. They forced the child to watch all this…

    “As a result, the parents died. The child died. The man died. The dog died. A woman remained. But she doesn’t want to live anymore. He refuses to receive psychological help. She doesn’t want to share it with anyone…”

    The psychiatrist prescribed some drugs for her, which she is now taking. But what can you say to such a person? Once you survive, you have to live on? Yes, it must be said, but she is not ready to accept any help now.

    The second case. 16-year-old girls were walking down the street and something attracted the attention of the russian military. Maybe they were just pretty, maybe they were laughing… The military dragged them into some bushes. One girl resisted a lot, fought, screamed, and rebelled. They killed her and raped her dead in front of her friend.

    “And that girl was also raped. As a result, her front teeth were knocked out, her mouth was torn and her throat was torn. She ended up in the hospital. He doesn’t want to live either…”

    The third case. The woman’s husband is a military commander of some unit. They came to her home. The woman was pregnant, but that didn’t stop anyone. They destroyed her, and cut off her breasts. Everything was recorded on video to be sent to the commander.

    “She survived. She lost her child. And he doesn’t want to live either. Doesn’t want anything…”

    We recently received first aid kits for raped men. Two volunteers delivered products to Kherson and took people back. They were publicly stripped, humiliated, mocked, and raped by the russian military at the checkpoint… We will now send first aid kits to these men in Kherson.

    “But this is done not only in the Kherson region. I was informed about cases of rape in Melitopol. Together with volunteers from Odesa and Kyiv, we collect medicine for such women. Recently, 10 first-aid kits were handed over to Kherson.”

    How can people do this? Rape, kill, abuse, hurt, take pleasure in another person’s pain? “Those people who were bullied received incurable mental injuries. They are crippled for life.” We will personally do everything for victory! For the sake of stopping this russian madness, murders, and mutilations of our Nation!

    “Only with the support of the whole world will we win faster!”

    We all have emotional wounds. We cannot calmly watch the bombing of the city every day. You are always in danger in this war. It’s such a fear when you hear those explosions. You don’t know where the next projectile will land. Maybe to you. You catch yourself thinking that you don’t want to put up with this for another minute or second! “You feel powerless before the missiles, despair after shelling, the gratitude to the Armed Forces for every morning, every night, every moment, and every breath.” We have to overcome, fight, move on, win, win that war! And you agree to do anything for victory! You have to! I am 200% sure that we will win. And not only because there are volunteers like us. And because the whole world sees what is happening here and helps.

    “I want to say to all the people who will read this: russia is doing great evil! And if you can provide any help, or information, or go to rallies, or donate to relief funds and volunteers you trust, do it. Only with the support of the whole world will we win faster.” I want everyone to clearly understand and know: that russians are murderers and marauders, they are inhuman! Let no one even doubt that Russia is not just an aggressor country, it is a terrorist country!

    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: Iryna Hyliuk | Translation: Violeta Shenkariuk


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