Stories that you confided to us

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Stories that you confided to us

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Tetiana Maksymova
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"No government in the world is worth the death of civilians, the tears of children and the elderly"

War is death, destruction, starvation, and despair. It divides families, destroys cities, hardens hearts and negates the sense of security, deprives people of peace, sleep, and moral balance.

Previously, we always asked for wishes of happiness, love, health and other well-being, we did not think much about peace, this was by default a given after the end of the Second world war. Now I understand that all goods are more or less vulnerable and depend on the main thing-the presence of peace.

War is a kind of a tombstone above the Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which negates all other values of life. This is an evil that is close to the absurd and makes people unhappy.

No government in the world is worth the death of civilians, the tears of children and the elderly

My encounter with the concept of 'war' was done in absentia, according to my grandmother's stories. She lived in the occupied territory during the Great Patriotic war with five children. This is what I know from my mother's stories, her childhood memories, from watching movies, reading books, and studying history in school and studentship.

It was indeed a different time, different people, conditions, prerequisites. But I could never have imagined that we would live through be echoes of war in our country and in the civilized conditions of the 21st century.

When in 2014 the armed conflict in Donbass was only a blur, and the first reports on the number of attacks, casualties and damage to infrastructure began to appear in the media, it seemed that this was a kind of virtual reality that could not be comprehended.

Consciousness initially rejected even the distant sounds of shelling, the regular humming sound of the tanks moving along the Shakhtarsk - Donetsk highway, and isolated cases of shells hitting the city in the hope that the misunderstanding would about to come to an end, and virtual reality will come to naught.

Alas, the starting point for me that this was the reality, was the incident which occurred on 13 August 2014. It was the death of 15 residents of our city, including three children in the explosion of shells on the city beach.

The relatives of the employees working at the DTEK monotown enterprise – Zuivska Power Station, where I worked, were among the dead.

No government in the world is worth the death of civilians, the tears of children and the elderly

The company then provided all possible assistance to the employees whose relatives were killed. In fact, the Zuivska Power Station provided maximum support and assistance not only to the employees but also to civilians throughout the entire period of the company's ownership of DTEK assets until the management lost power in March 2017.

What do people who live withing the war zone range think and say? Those civilians who stayed in the region are hostages of circumstance. People live expecting and hoping that the conflict would end soon and life in the region would go back to the way it once was.

People are tired of the prolonged confrontation between the parties to the conflict. The standard of living has declined significantly in all respects. They feel rejected for the most part, and they mourn their untimely relatives up to this day, grieving for their children, grandchildren, and parents.

No government in the world is worth the death of civilians, the tears of children and the elderly

They are more likely to survive than live a full-fledged life. This I know not by hearsay, but from the reviews of friends and former employees, with whom I casually meet when I come to visit an elderly mother who lives in the city. People are nostalgic for the past and every year they become more and more desperate, because despite the cessation of attacks, there are no prerequisites for reconciliation, and the situation is becoming chronic.

I am convinced that no government in the world is worth the death of civilians, the tears of children and the elderly, the destroyed cities and villages. I really hope and believe that common sense will prevail – and peace will come to our house called Ukraine with the reunification of all the inhabitants of the country.

The highest value in life is the life itself. When you live withing the rampant war zone, you become just a toy in the hands of chance. You can hear the shot and know that the projectile is flying, but you have absolutely no control over the place and time where it will fall.

And this feeling of powerlessness and insignificance in comparison with the elements of war, in fact, is the most destructive feeling when you realize that you can not help and protect your loved ones from harm, stop the shelling and lawlessness that bring death and destruction.

People are stressed, terrified and desperate when they live in the territory with constant shelling attacks. I had many similar experiences at that time. But perhaps the worst event I saw was when, in October 2014, schoolchildren walking around the city found unexploded ammunition and started playing with it.

No government in the world is worth the death of civilians, the tears of children and the elderly

The deadly toy exploded, taking the life of a child and physically and crippling two more teenagers mentally. One of the survivors was left disabled, almost deprived of sight.

The victims were children of employees of the Zuivska Power Station. I happened to know personally the boy who died, Ivan Sharko, and his family. His mother, father, and grandparents worked at the station. Vanya was the younger brother of my children's classmate and studied with my sons at a music school.

He was a very friendly and cheerful little boy. Six years have passed since the tragedy, but this pain is not blunted and is not subject to oblivion.

Children should not die before their parents or grandparents. Adults can often create conditions that threaten the lives of children. And adults who allow wars to break out are responsible for the deaths of innocent people, let alone the children.

I agree with the phrase, "There are no other people's children." And this is our common grief – in the dead children of Donbass, we have lost the opportunity to nurture the support of the country, they will not become doctors, scientists, poets, musicians, artists and just loving and caring for their children moms and dads.

No government in the world is worth the death of civilians, the tears of children and the elderly

This is the proverbial concept 'before and after.' For me, this limit of exploitation is 2014-2017. BEFORE was life and work in the city where I had lived for more than 35 years with my family, where my children were born. And AFTER that, when I had to move into a rented apartment with my children.

Alas, my 80-year-old mother refused to move and lives in a city that seems to have frozen in the AFTER concept.

No government in the world is worth the death of civilians, the tears of children and the elderly

All employees of the Zuivska Power Station and coal enterprises in the Donetsk Oblast were offered the opportunity to continue working as part of other DTEK enterprises in the controlled Ukrainian territories. They we offered to temporary places of residence, and payment assistance. Then many felt the shareholder's and DTEK's support. I was one of them. I am forever grateful and proud that I have the honor to work in a company that cares about its employees and does not leave them in trouble, does a lot for the development and prosperity of the country, brings light and warmth to people.

Since the beginning of the armed conflict, all living environments in the region have been affected. The banking system was paralysed. As a result, people could not cash out. Some small and medium-sized businesses have scaled back their capacity – people were out of work. Pension and benefit payments have been terminated, leaving people with no bread and butter. Transport and intercity services have stopped, the replenishment of pharmacies and hospitals with medical products has worsened, and the price of food, essential goods and medicines has increased significantly.

It is human nature to adapt to changing conditions of life. I guess it is probably possible to put up with interruptions in the supply of products, deterioration in their quality and quantity, difficulties in moving through checkpoints, lack of financial resources, but to put up with a constant sense of anxiety and concern for the lives of loved ones and powerlessness to influence the situation-the heaviest burden.

The Rinat Akhmetov Foundation and DTEK Zuivska Power Station helped citizens as much as they could. This includes the provision of humanitarian aid; assistance in the reconstruction of housing damaged by shelling; financial support for employees in the form of additional payments for work in conditions associated with fighting, since the city and businesses were regularly shelled; assistance for burial and treatment of employees and their families; evacuation of children, and so on.

Socially vulnerable categories of the population need assistance: disabled people, elderly people who require care, large families and children deprived of parental care… They are surviving a prolonged war that has worsened their already dire situation.

No government in the world is worth the death of civilians, the tears of children and the elderly

My mother received food packages from the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation several times as a pensioner. This was a very important assistance not only for her, but for our entire family. Cereals, sugar, pasta, canned food, vegetable oil and other products were among the food products.

I will never forget my mother's tears when she laid out the bags of food on the table and said that she never thought that the war would overtake her in her old age after what she had experienced as a child, which would deprive her of peace and means of livelihood.

At that time, she was no longer receiving her pension payments. Every time she cooked food, she thanked those who do not leave people in trouble and take care of the elderly generation. She would wail, saying that she had already outlived her time. But what about my grandchildren and other children? What is there left for them, and when will this horror end? She then and now does not understand why this war happened and how it could have been allowed.   

No government in the world is worth the death of civilians, the tears of children and the elderly

I firmly believe that no other representative of business or even the ruling government has made a more significant and effective contribution to supporting the civilian population in the Donbass than Rinat Akhmetov and his Foundation. On behalf of all residents of the city, I would like to thank, first of all, Rinat Leonidovich himself and all people involved in the Foundation's activities for the invaluable contribution they have made to the benefit of the residents of the city and the Donbass as a whole.

The most terrible thing at war is the death of innocent people, crippled destinies, destroyed and devastated homes.

I would very much like this situation of inadequacy and absurdity that has happened in our country to end as soon as possible. You can play the film in the opposite direction to the beginning of the war but , unfortunately, nothing can be rewind in real life. Many things are lost forever and beyond retrieve.

It is important to stop the war and draw conclusions, to take all measures to never again allow such outrages in the country with bloodshed, destruction, hardening of hearts and emptying of souls.

For me, happiness is the unity of my family and the confidence that it is safe and sound. I wish my sons graduated from university, found a job in his calling, started families, and with us found as yet only in dreams house settled happiness, the joyous laughter of grandchildren and the smell of cakes baked by my mum.

I reappraised my values in 2014. To this day, when you have to cross the checkpoints that divide the Ukrainian and non-controlled territories of the same country to visit your mother, seeing armed people, signs "Caution! Mines!"on the side of the roads, long queues of cars, crowds of people, including the elderly, people in wheelchairs and small children, it seems that you get into the looking glass of common sense and logic. Alas, it is impossible to accept this and it must be put an end to!

Previously, we always asked for wishes of happiness, love, health and other well-being, we did not think much about peace, this was by default a given after the end of the Second world war. Now I understand that all goods are more or less vulnerable and depend on the main thing-the presence of peace.

We must make every effort to restore peace for the benefit of our children and the entire country, for the benefit of the all-Ukrainian future.  

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