Stories that you confided to us

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Stories that you confided to us

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Olesia Tsymbalova

"The Traumatology Department was packed with people without arms and legs"

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26 May 2014. I remember that day was very sunny. It's my best friend's birthday. I called to congratulate her in the morning. Everyone just thought about the unstable situation in the country and the war in Sloviansk. We were discussing this situation.

We all knew that we lived in Donetsk, the most beautiful city in Ukraine. So much has been done and redecorated here recently. So many influential people lived here, including the former President's family. The city was always busy and prosperous...

While we were talking, I said this, "Ira, well, they won't throw bombs at us, will they?" It sounded like nonsense…

"When we arrived at the hospital, something terrible happened"

We agreed to meet in the afternoon and go for a walk in Shcherbakov Park. Before that, I needed to take the child to Ophthalmological Hospital No. 3, in the area of the Mayak Market. My daughter has congenital divergent strabismus. We are be followed up by a doctor almost from birth. Veronica was four and a half years old at that time. That day we went for a routine check-up. It was about 12 o'clock.

When we arrived at the hospital, something terrible happened. We saw planes and helicopters flying above our heads. It was noisy, and people were trying to leave the Mayak Market very quickly. We did the same.

We could see smoke coming from the airport. For some reason, I wasn't afraid. I believed it would be over in a day. I really thought so.

Then a friend of mine called. Her sister lived near Metro Supermarket which was not far from the Airport. Her house was hit… Wearing a housecoat and slippers, she ran with a baby in her arms. Bullets whistled past our ears. There were casualties. So it all started in my memory.

"We had nowhere to go"

1 June 2014. Children's Day. The day when my family and I always walked in Shcherbakov Park. Almost a week had passed, and it was getting worse.

It was scary to go to the city, it was much safer to stay at home. We had nowhere to leave Donetsk, as my parents were visiting my sister in Iraq. So we stayed at home all day…

The city was slowly becoming deserted. People were leaving. Businesses closed down. Many people lost their jobs. My husband also lost his job. We didn't know what to do. How to live? Where to go? There were many questions, but no answers.

"We were offered to go to a recreation facility"

20 June 2014. We visited "Children's Hope", a center for disabled children. The entire center was offered to go to the recreation center "Metallurg" in Yurivka to survive all this horror and return to a calm and peaceful city of Donetsk. Of course, we agreed kindly.

On 1 July, we were in Yurivka. This is our happiest but most hectic summer. We stayed there until October. We had to go back, but the situation in Donetsk was getting worse.

The shells also reached our remote area. There was destruction and casualties. The windows shook from constant explosions, and one of the windows on our balcony cracked…

I decided to take the child to my parents' in Dymytriv (now Myrnohrad).

"We waited in line for water for half a day"

In October, we visited my grandparents. But they had their own problems. Because of the constant shelling of Kurakhove, water supply was cut off in Dymytriv, Dymytrov and Krasnoarmiisk. That's about a million people.

"We waited in line for half a day to bring some water" What is it like to live without water for several months? I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

"We left the station on the last mini-bus"

In December, we decided to go to visit the house and our dad, who worked on the farmstead all the time. My heart just jumped out of my chest when we drove up to Donetsk. Unfortunately, Nika and I stayed home very little.

Another bombardment started – we packed up in a hurry and left. It was very difficult to leave. It was a miracle we went on the last bus from the Southern Bus Terminal. A little later it was hit, and for several days there was no bus traffic from the bus station at all.

"People ran in any direction"

Date of the shooting: January 2015 Veronika and I came home to Donetsk. East or west, home is best. But not in our case.

Staying in Donetsk was simply impossible. People ran in any direction. Human life meant nothing. New destruction, victims; old people, children died. The Traumatology Department was packed with people without arms and legs. It was very terrible. So we left again.

23 February is my daughter's birthday. Our daughter would turn five years old. The situation in Donetsk subsided– a truce was concluded. We arrived a little earlier. We planned to gather friends. But a new trouble has come into our lives.

"Dad was fading right before our eyes"

Dad got a brain tumor. The disease escalated rapidly. Dad took the war very personally. He just couldn't accept what was happening. He was fading right before our eyes.

March 2015. We left Donetsk with great difficulty. There were roadblocks everywhere. So I had to have a pass since I was registered in Donetsk. My father was transported by car in a lying position. That is why, they let me and my child pass.

The next two weeks were a blur. I could hardly sleep. I could see that my dad was getting worse. He didn't recognize me anymore. He was like a small child. I drove away bad thoughts, you can't escape from fate.

Dad died on 27 March.

Donetsk 2014 2015 Text Civilian's stories
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