It was the spring of 2014. I came to visit my parents who live in the Kirovskyi District of Donetsk. The Donetsk Airport was five kilometers from their home. At that time, we learned about the attacks at Donetsk Airport only on the Internet and TV. When I called my mother, she mentioned that she could already hear 'bangs' from the Airport.
And in the evening, after hearing these "bangs" through the closed windows, we jumped out on the balcony, which faced the Airport. Blood-red flashes constantly appeared on the horizon, followed by the sounds of explosions. Looking at the neighbouring balconies to the left and right, I saw our neighbours. They all stood and stared into the distance with bated breath.
Then I realized the gravity of the situation with horror. And the fact that my life and those I know will change dramatically.
Unfortunately, my close relatives have already faced similar trouble in Moldova, in Transnistria. My family knew their stories of the horror and devastation that were happening there.
War is the greatest stupidity of people.
It was on the night of August 8th to 9th 2014. That was the night when my wife gave birth to our daughter Mira.
The curfew had already begun (from 11:00 p.m. to 05:00 a.m.), it was strictly forbidden to leave the house, because it was dangerous. We couldn't call an ambulance – they just didn't pick up the phone.
I started calling taxi services, and only one of them answered. Hearing that it was a hospital matter, the girl burst into tears. She apologised for not being able to help, since the taxi drivers didn't have permission to transport people at night either.
Finally, dialling the number fifteen times in a row, the ambulance picked up the phone. The car arrived about 40 minutes later.
Despite all this, the night was surprisingly quiet. The labour went normal. I was very worried then, because I was responsible for the whole family.
Working as a security guard at the Donetsk Metallurgical Plant, I was part of the plant's product support group. We accompanied trains with cast iron through the Yasynuvata Railway Station and the demarcation line. While waiting for our train to leave in Yasynuvata, we often got into situations when we got hit by shells on the way. We had to wait for the repairs to be done for weeks.
We came under fire and hid under the wagons, waiting for this to end. All the buildings, pillars, and metalwork were marked with bullets and fragments.
I would really like to forget about the night when my one-and-a-half-year-old daughter's had the temperature rise up to 40.5 degrees Celsius. And at the ambulance station, we were told that no one would come to us – there was only one ambulance for our entire residential area. The rest did not fuel. Although this amount of fuel was always enough for military equipment.
There were different situations. Sometimes we would sit with no water or electricity for several days. There was a time when the shop did not have enough food and household goods. People lined up in huge queues to get the humanitarian aid sets. It became much more difficult to get to work, because many drivers left Donetsk.
There wasn't much work in the factory, and we would work two weeks a month and receive two-thirds of our salary. The payments were very small, and they were remunerated on credit cards.
We had to stand in long queues in the stores that accepted payment by cards. We ran around the shops and offered people to pay for them with our cards in order to exchangeit for cash.
And this at a time when the war was rumbling in the street and at any moment, in any place, shells or mines could explode.
Because of the war, we had to leave our small but very cosy apartment in Donetsk. Almost all of our friends had left. We lost our jobs. We left the city where we were born and raised. We left our parents there to look after their very elderly parents. We had no chance to take bring them here.
What do people who live withing the war zone range think and say? They live as best they can. Clearly, they are tired of this exhausting protracted situation. Some, I have heard, would like to live as before, being part of Ukraine. Some support the situation that occurred, but at the same time they want to receive Ukrainian passports, pensions and education. I don't judge anyone.
We haven't received the humanitarian aid sets recently. At that time, we received child support from the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation.
It really was the Support we needed. It was a huge package with a large package of diapers, a lot of juices and all kinds of baby food, which was in short supply, expensive and to buy which we simply did not have enough money.
The worst thing at war is the death of innocent people.
We all dream of our apartment in a safe city.
We began to appreciate the peace more.