Stories that you confided to us

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Stories that you confided to us

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Raisa Stepanivna Kolesnikova
age: 69
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"We didn't have time to bury them"

The first shell fell behind the house. It was a miracle that son managed to survive. Heavy shelling unfolded in 2014-2015. Many domestic animals died, and the house was partially destroyed. The eldest son died because they could not take him for treatment to Donetsk. The war cut off many lifes nearby.

People are terrified now, especially old people. They say that even they did not see this during the second world war, when you do not know where to run at night.

We liked our village of Hranitne heartily. Life there was quite nice, we had work. People there were friendly, calm. Many people came up, and they also liked it very much. Many have left, though. It was very difficult after the war started. Then we got used to it.

The autumn of 2014 was dreadful - the windows and roof were destroyed, and the fence just disappeared. They would start shooting, and we would run to the basement. The rest of the time we stay mostly in the house,  looking for a safe corner to hide. All the windows were covered with film. That  is how we wintered, exposed to cold weather.

The roofs of every house had holes in them. Windows, walls were destroyed. You can see it by walking down the street. Some of the house have been restored a little, and some remained undamaged and unspoiled. 

We didn't have time to bury them

The first time a shell fell was behind the house. My son was standing on the corner of the house, and we called him. As soon as he entered the courtyard, two large shells hit right in that place. He wouldn't be alive sure as death.

And then a lot of shells fell around the house! All our cattle were killed. The calves grew big... Everything was destroyed — windows, roofs. Things just deflected off. A newly mounted fence was rooted out.  Who will restore it all? It is unclear. 

I can't even tell you what had happened. It was somehow unexpected, they we were beaten up. It was hard...I was surely more afraid for my children, grandchildren than  for myself. Our neighbor was killed.

People are terrified now, especially old people. They say that even they did not see this during the second world war, when you do not know where to run at night. Sometimes we got up at night and everything was on fire. Fire was put out in the night. So we ran to the basement in the middle of the night.

We left the house and went to the center, because staying here was impossible at all. And then we went home and saw  no windows, no glass, no nothing left. Everything was destroyed, broken.  Then winter came. We seals the house with film. All the heat went outside since the windows were broken. The roof was broken, it leaked, and all the ceilings was stained. 

We didn't have time to bury them

My daughter-in-law (my brother's wife) was killed. She went out to get some water. We had no light, so there was no water in the yard. Before that, there was an attack and it seemed that things settled down for a little while. A shell hit the ground right next to her – she was torn to bits. Before that, they moved to live closer to the center, to their son's. They left their house because the bombardment here was hard. So she got killed at her son's place. 

Thus, son with two children were left without a wife. Now he is unemployed. How can you afford being unemployed having two children?  Poor thing, he has to work on the side to earn money and feed the children.

My niece's husband was shot. He was driving from here to Telmanove in the evening, bringing some milk to his mother… There were two infants left without a mother. The smaller girl was three months old at that time. Now she is five years old and doesn't know her father. 

My nephew's mother-in-law was killed just in the yard. The woman was running some household errands in the morning when it happened. How can a person bear it?

When our son was ill, we couldn't transport him anywhere. It was impossible to leave. He had to go to Donetsk, where he was undertook treatment. But I couldn't leave. We buried our son.

We did not receive any pension, salary, or any payments whatsoever for about six months. . It is good that we were able to survive, but no one knows how the pensioners managed to pull through. We had some savings, but people didn't. It was painful to watch when old people came to the Village Council, asking for money. How can this even be possible? 

Even now we feel like sleeping on a volcano. Today they started shooting at four in the morning and proceeded with their attack until five o'clock. We don't know where it happened exactly. We just saw shells flying past us, whistling. I don't know the side or direction they hit.

They tried to disconnect the electricity. Wind was howling, it was cold, and they're hitting the electricity poles. Then electricity  was restored for a few days, and then it was broken in the evening again. How can you do without light if all your appliances are dependent to  electricity? As soon as the electricity was restored, men ground the grain while the women washed clothes and pumped water. 

Food products were in stores, but people didn't have money to buy them. Those who lost their jobs had to survive on their parents' pension payments. Eventually all young people left. So many houses were empty! They don't want to come back until jobs are back, and there are no job offers yet. Who can we rely on? Grief, devastation.

We didn't have time to bury people, it was a terror. Four people were killed on our street.

There was a person-hight hole when a shell fell. It was the year 2015. Heavy bombardment was initiated, so we went down to the basement.  When we came out, we saw that cattle were killed. Everything was broken by shrapnel. We can sometimes find them in the garden. 

We didn't have time to bury them

What are we dreaming of? I wish that peace would come, jobs and our people would return. I wish everything would be as it was before. This is what we dream of. What else can you dream of?

I wish that children would come home, that our street was crowded as it always has been, that there were no destroyed  houses, that people would get help to restore their homes, because they have no money to pay for that. Here is a house that was completely destroyed. Who will restore it all? The girls who are coming back? We have no man support.  

We didn't have time to bury them

I was born in 1951. I am 68 years old. We receive pension payments. We keep the household. Son helps with the household and boils the pot whenever possible. I worked before the war all the time, but every establishment closed down now. We do not have any jobs any more. That is how we live. 

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