Stories that you confided to us

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Stories that you confided to us

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Oleksii Ivanovych Koriuk
"I wish shells were never fired. Let them be part of the history"

He lives in the village of Hranitne. During the shelling that took place in 2015, he and his wife hid in his house, which remained intact: the whole yard is littered with shell craters. He was caught under artillery fire right on the street. It is a miracle that he survived.

We pray to God that they have already solved it all out. War cannot last forever, right? We live right on the border line. I would like to live a little more freely and as long as the Almighty God has designated.

I am fond of love lyrics by Shakespeare and modern authors...  I can read them in Russian and Ukrainian.  "You go through bright lights, through light blue mist, through all this evening dazzle, and spring flowers come alive when your feet touch the ground. You are like eternal sky that blesses us from up above. I wrote many songs about you, but you are the best song." This Is Volodya Sosyura. 

I was born in Hranitne, and I live here now. I graduated from the agricultural college in 1962 and worked in Volnovakha District. I grew vegetables. Then I came back and worked on my own farm. I grew bread, vegetables, and had meat and milk.

I worked in the middle level, where products are produced. This is the most responsible level. Bosses press from above, and workers demand from below.

I worked as a farm manager for four years. I had four thousand cows. There isn't that much in the area now, but I had it on my farm. I worked without days off or holidays.

We would sometimes go on vacation to Yalta with my brothers – that's all my leisure activity. My problem is that I can't say No to people. I did what I was told and went where I was sent. Whether it is a garden, a brigade, or a farm... There were 45-50 people in my brigade. 

When the war started in Sloviansk, I cannot say that something changed for us. Well, war, ok... Since 5 September, we already saw what war is when mined exploded around.

We have a roadblock here. Soldiers stood up and made a camp. And they started shooting. Both here and there. Well, the shots did not reach us if they fired from here. This area, on the other hand, is quite close to my house. I live 100 meters away from the checkpoint.

And so the mines began to explode around our house — small and large. Once, one such shell fell and destroyed the fences. My windows frames were all broken. Mines exploded from the east, from the south, from the west, and from the north. But, thank God, they didn't get into the house. We know such people that got such 'surprises'.

I wish shells were never fired. Let them be part of the history

When shells fell, we (my wife was in one corner away, I was in the other) sit, thinking, "Let it pass through our house."

I wish shells were never fired. Let them be part of the history

We lived in such tension and fear for the entire 2014 and the beginning of 2015. 13 people were killed, and more than 36 people were injured. Such battles did not happen here during World War II.

Back then the Germans killed two people in our village. One woman was killed, because she did not want to go to Germany for compulsory labour. She refused and was shot. As ordered by the district committee of the party, one man wa left without clandestine work when  someone from the locals gave him away. These two men were shot by the Germans. This war has already brought 13 casualties and more than 30 wounded. 

Thank God that shelling attacks have stopped now. We have already got used to it somehow and do not fear a we did the first year. Have you watched any war movies? And read books, novels. War, war... And when the mines started exploding in the yard, it was a completely different matter. We felt the war on our own skin. Shells were falling, Crating shell meter holes in my garden. There was an apiary there, and the hives were destroyed. 

They fired during the day, morning, and night. There is no schedule, unlike the Moscow-Mariupol train, which ran at a certain time. Here the shooting began without any schedule.

We ask God to not have our home destroyed, at least. My wife was in one corner.This is her bedroom, and that is  my bedroom. I was in the corner, away from the window. We have windows all around our house. It was common to build such houses so as to bring to light to the house. I have 12 windows. I had to stay away from them. So we sat in the corners and wait for the attack to end.

I wish shells were never fired. Let them be part of the history

Now the shooting has reduced drastically. We can say that it has settled down. Well, some spurts might happen. Or shootings from other localities.

My wife said that this morning they were shooting from the side of Ihnatiivka, and  the shells were heard again. She got up earlier than me. She's got the chickens she has to take care of. And I got up about 15 minutes later. I heard this rumbling noise. The village was not harmed. My wife says she could see the lights hear the rockets...  You can see the fire. 300 km per hour is the speed of firing.

We pray to God that they have already solved it all out. War cannot last forever, right? We live right on the border line. I would like to live a little more freely and as long as the Almighty God has designated.  But not in such stressful environment. You wait and think, "Don't let it hit our house." And that is it for now. 

I wish shells were never fired. Let them be part of the history

We don't have anyone in the village. Grandchildren have settled somewhere. Some are Ukraine, others went to Russia. They have to provide for their families. You won't find jobs here. If the war had ended, the open cast mine would have started working immediately. Everyone needs crushed stone to make roads and concrete. They did every kinds of works: cut monuments and granite there.

If we were younger and had a thousand dollars a month, we could leave. But we don't, so where should we go? At least now we are paid 100 dollars of pension payments.

We did not have that money before the war. If you want to go somewhere, you need to have money. On food. On accommodation. So we never thought about that. We already know what will happen. We're at home here, after all... We're old. I will be 82 years old in two months. I am an old man.

Luckily, food was brought without delay, but it was expensive. We must pay for electricity. Coal costs 7000 UAH per ton. And we need at least two and a half tons.  Before that I used five tons to heat the house. Well, I had water heating. And when the girls had left, why should we heat such a house? So I took off the heating. I have a furnace now. When we were building the house, I said, "Let's make a furnace just in case. So now we can heat the place.

We need two tons of coal. We have three rooms: two bedrooms and a living room. We have a TV here, and here we sit. This is my couch and that is my wife's. We look at each other, then at the TV. That is it. The rest of the house is not heated. Now pressed peats have become popular. We melted them and then put some coal on them, and that was it. And the house was already warm. 

We haven't had communications or electricity for months. That's how we lived. It is war. You know a saying,  "It is not terrible if a person says that he/she is not afraid. This is a lie, it is not true.

Everyone is scared. Both heroes, and patriots, everyone is scared. If you say that you are not afraid, you will lie. No, everyone is scared. Everyone wants to live. You feel terror when you see that death is near.

Once I went to the center to buy some bread. Shells began to fall. Do you have any idea what it's like? These are not novels to read or movies to watch. I wish shells were never fired. Let them remain in history... 

Man is the most terrible beast. He fights as long as he lives. All for what? There is still enough space for everyone.

I wish it would things would get better. I wish we would live as long as the God Almighty has designated. Whether it is a year or two, as long as it has given me. I want to be free so that I can go somewhere without being checked.

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