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“How the life of the village where I grew up has changed…” The story of a woman from Zaporozhye

In mid-March, serious defensive battles began in the city of Vasilyevka, turning the city and the surrounding territories into ruins. In addition to the city itself, neighboring villages suffered for a long time. One of these villages is Verkhnyaya Krinitsa, located six kilometers from Vasilyevka.

During any war, villages are always poorly defended and become centers of robbery by soldiers, since they don’t have strategically important military facilities. Upper Krinitsa is no exception to it. Here is what Natalia, who was evacuated to Western Ukraine from Zaporozhye and became a member of the team at the Velyki Luchky help center, tells about Verkhnyaya Krinitsa. She, like no one else, acutely feels the need to find ways to deliver aid to the villages.

“My sister, after her marriage, settled in Verkhnyaya Krinitsa, and since then I would often spend time there. The village became my second home. With the outbreak of the war, every day, if possible, I’ve been calling up with relatives and friends who stay there. With the aggravation of the situation, I began looking for opportunities to help them with supplies and every day I would persuade them to leave for Western [Ukraine]. For a long time to no avail. No one dared leave the house. It was only when Russian troops entered the village, the railway bridge was blown up, and the road to Zaporozhye was blocked, that many agreed to leave. One of the families of relatives managed to leave for the Crimea, the others were picked up by volunteers at the checkpoint and taken to Zaporozhye. Two weeks later they came to us in Mukachevo, where our volunteer friends from Lithuania picked them up and drove to their country.

Before that, they and their small children had to literally live in basements. The men were afraid to go outside for fear of being taken by Russian troops. The houses, where the doors and gates were locked, were fired from tanks, so the inhabitants were forced to let the soldiers into their houses without resistance. It was almost impossible to cook food, and there was nothing. Food was taken from the stores by Russian soldiers. My niece got water for washing her hair by melting the snow collected in the yard during short ceasefires. Sometimes, when it was freezing severely, the water would congeal and she to wait again until it melted. I'm glad they're safe now.

On May 24, after a long pause, the situation with hostilities worsened. A recent phone call with friends terrified me. The occupants shelled the village without warning, when many of its inhabitants were working in the gardens. A friend saw the rockets when they were already launched into the air and flew at them. Crawling, she reached the shelter and having scratched all her hands and knees, she was glad that she was still alive. Others were less fortunate. A pregnant woman received a shrapnel wound to the head. Her husband, who at the same time received a deep wound in the leg, despite the wound, took her to the hospital. The woman was successfully operated and the child, thank God, was not injured.

A woman on the outskirts says that the military is fortifying positions and digging trenches endlessly. But it’s not Russians who are digging, but mobilized men from the “DPR”. And it seems that in the army their situation is rather deplorable. Recently, the DPR soldiers came to her to ask her to give the porridge she had prepared for the dogs. Afraid of running into trouble, the woman gave them the 10-liter pot and left. The soldiers wolfed down the contents of the pot, even scraped off the leftovers from the sides .”

At the moment, there are more military than civilians in the village. Such situation of villages in the occupied territories is constant and unchanging. Every volunteer who decides to help the people in the villages is truly a hero. We pray that peace will finally come to Ukraine and there will be more opportunities to help people. After all, ministers are not allowed everywhere, not to mention the safety of such trips. It is impossible to deliver a lot of help to villages and cities. At the checkpoints, Russian soldiers rob cars with food and medicine, which has already happened to minister Vladimir during his attempts to go to Verkhnyaya Krinitsa. Despite all the difficulties, the Association continues to look for ways to deliver goods to all those in need and means of evacuating people.


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