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Stories that you confided to us

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Olha, Vitalii and daughter Mariia Zhelnovatskyis

"We wake up to the explosion of shells every morning"

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Wife Olha:

We lived in my husband's parents ' house, in the village of Pervomaika. But when the fighting started, our house came under fire. There was heavy destruction. It was impossible to be there.

We wake up to the explosion of shells every morning

We moved to my father and grandfather. But the area there was also under attack. The apartment had no windows. It was really damaged. And we live in a rented apartment now.

On 30 July 2014, I guess, it probably all started. We went to visit our nephews for a couple of days, and then this happened. When we returned, war was already on, causing destruction on its way. It must have been a miracle that we weren't hit..

Everything was destroyed. The impact was so strong that the wall collapsed. Naturally, all the equipment fell down. The roof was broken all over. It leaked. There was no wall, no entrance doors.

We have been living here since October 2014. This is our relatives' apartment. They moved out and let us live.

The place I worked in was also damaged. It was blown up. A shell hit our market where I worked. We lost our stores. The entire market was affected. All those who used to work had nowhere to return to.

My husband has been a disabled person of the first group since 2009. Things got worse when the war started. It was so stressful. We were always together. We were inseparable. We go everywhere together, always together.

Husband Vitalii:

He worked at a mine, then at a local refractory factory as an electrician. Then my health got so bad that I couldn't do anything. Who will hold me? Who needs me? It started with the right hand. It got weak.

I went to the hospital for examination. I underwent treatment. I was registered as a disabled person of the third group. But over time, my second hand didn't function properly as well. So I got the first disability group. I can walk, but I can't  do anything with my hands any more. It gets worse over time. My wife has to feed me and bring me water.

We wake up to the explosion of shells every morning

Olha:

I can't leave him. He can't take care of himself. He can't even pick up a glass of water by himself. He needs my help.

It is difficult during the heating period.. It is necessary to prepare firewood. We have a cast-iron stove. So we use firewood to heat the place. Three families live in this block of the building. Everyone prepares their own firewood. Some bought it. Some collected sticks, twigs. Whatever they could.

When it gets really cold, it may be necessary to heat two or even three times a day. It is very expensive to heat the whole day. The cast-iron stove takes lot of firewood. And if it gets warmer and I cook something, the heat can be preserved for a while. It may even be enough for the evening.

It is impossible to get warm with electricity. It is very expensive. There are days when there is no light at all. We could have stayed without light for a month. We cooked food over a campfire before we had a cast-iron stove. We sat without lights in December 2016.

Daughter Mariia:

Every morning we wake up to the sounds of shelling explosions, go to the corridor and sit. We stayed in the basement almost all year of 2015. I can't call it childhood, because normally children spend their childhood in silence, in peace. And we lived our lives in war, under shells, under bullets.

We wake up to the explosion of shells every morning

Olha:

Children… We must raise them. They must get proper education. The children are the reason we have to manage. We want to live. We try not to lose heart. 

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
Krasnogorivka 2014 Video Civilian's stories women men children destroyed or damaged housing housing
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