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Stories that you confided to us

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Iryna Starodetko

‘Our life is precious. Nothing else is precious. Neither an apartment, nor any other property’

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When Donetsk airport was shelled for the first time, in early June, if I remember correctly, we then left. We heard the thundering [explosions]. I called my friend who lives near Putylivskyi [bus station]. Her neighbour was killed just near the airport. And I am alone, I have only one child, and I really didn’t want to repeat the fate of that neighbour.

‘Our life is precious. Nothing else is precious. Neither an apartment, nor any other property’

We packed our things up and just left because our lives are precious. Nothing else is so precious. Neither an apartment, nor any property, nothing is so valuable. Life is precious. That is, I evacuated myself and my child because there is only me and my child, no one else. We packed up and left.

I left a two-room apartment in Donetsk. I left behind my friends and a lot of things. I had a refurbishment made there, a large-sized apartment in a new building, renovated and furnished, with everything inside.

I came to Artemivsk. I have some family members here: my mom, my dad and my brother. There is someone to support me in a difficult situation, I would not be left alone. We bought this house without renovation. We settled in and made the heating. In the beginning, we placed the bath-tub near the stove. Now life is getting better. There is water supply now.

I live from the vegetable garden and get some humanitarian aid. These are food items, cereals and grains/wheat. I use the child care allowance (pension) to pay the unitality bills.

‘Our life is precious. Nothing else is precious. Neither an apartment, nor any other property’

As I have my own house here, I do not get the targeted social aid from the state. I am not entitled to by law. I do not get the subsidy either. I came to apply for the subsidy and they told me: ‘You are not eligible as you are not registered here.’

So, we live only on this pension.

As one officer at the social security department told me off records: ‘Why did you buy this house? You would be getting more social payments otherwise.’ I said: ‘Give me back everything [I had] before the war. I will not come to your social security department. I will not come to you either for targeted aid or the subsidy.’

My son fell ill when he was two years and eight months old. He fell badly ill with a flu, and the flu caused complications – bronchitis and single pneumonia. Neurosurgeons later told me that there was a congenital brain tumour and it began to progress after the flu. He was operated on. The operation was followed by 19 days of intensive care and disability.

He understands everything. He is completely normal mentally. The only thing is physical problems. He speaks and moves badly. He began to pronounce some words little by little, he tries. We went to the rehabilitation centre before the war. He needs a hip joint operation. A plate needs to be installed.

‘Our life is precious. Nothing else is precious. Neither an apartment, nor any other property’

I dream that my child would be healthy, that there would be peace.

Because we need to do an MRI. Two years have passed, we are monitoring the tumour. I love him. I tell him that God loves him, that he will be able to walk. I believe that he will be able to walk.

When quoting a story, a reference to the source – the Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation – is mandatory, as follows:

The Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation https://civilvoicesmuseum.org/

Rinat Akhmetov Foundation Civilian Voices Museum
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