Stories that you confided to us

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Stories that you confided to us

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Oleh Chаsnokovskyi
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"Having left on a business trip, I could not return to my hometown"

On 15 July 2014, I was at the railway station. I was going on a business trip on one of the last trains that were still running from Luhansk to Kyiv. When we went on the train, the Grad attacks started. We drove reached Donetsk under fire.

Living in the time of war is terrible! This is a huge disaster that has affected innocent people.

You could read on the faces of my neighbours that they were frightened and did not understand how this could happen to them. At the time, we were still hoping that this would end soon.

Having left on a business trip, I could not return to my hometown

Having left for a business trip to Kyiv, I did not return to live in Horlivka. But I had to periodically visit my hometown. I went to visit my parents.

On one of these visits – it was in December 2014 - one of the mines exploded 30 meters from the parents' house. The windows were broken by fragments. Some of the shards still remain in the walls of the apartment.

We and the residents of our house were lucky - everyone was alive, only the housing was damaged. There were victims in the neighbouring houses.

Having left on a business trip, I could not return to my hometown

After that, my mother also left Horlivka for Kharkiv.

My father stayed. And all winter, in 20-degree cold temperatures, he lived in an apartment where there was no electricity, water, gas. But there were attacks, fear and devastation.

I remember a case when you start to understand that you cannot stand up to people who have weapons in their hands. This was the same day I left the train station in July 2014.

Very many people left the city that day - some were leaving, others came to see them off. It probably made the military nervous. For some inexplicable reason, they gave the command and all people, with no exceptions, whether they were leaving and seeing someone off, were stuffed into the waggons and the train departed. No one could say anything in response, because it was dangerous.

I will probably never be able to forget the hours I spent with my family in the summer of 2014 during the attacks in the basement of the house.

Having left on a business trip, I could not return to my hometown

Usually they started shooting at eight in the evening, and finished at 12 at night. We had to sit in the basement for 6-8 hours, until morning. Everything inside turned upside down from despair and the inability to influence the end of this horror.

Life was divided into before and after. I left my home. And I can see my hometown peaceful only in my memories.

Now I am starting a new life in Kharkiv. Wife Olena, son Tymofii who is three years old. I help children from my first marriage-Evelina (15 years old), Sofiia (8 years old).

The trip to Horlivka continues to be problematic and unsafe. Salaries and pensions there are small. There are no job offers. Humanitarian aid is very much needed there, especially for children and the elderly.

Having left on a business trip, I could not return to my hometown

People there still have a glimmer of hope that this is about to end. Although this faith is becoming less and less every day. People are tired of war. They want peace and simply have a normal life.

What is the worst thing about the war? Everything is terrible at war But the most terrifying thing is when civilians, including children, are killed.

I want peace to finally come to Donbass. Those people who were not there, but only watched on TV, will never understand what war is and how terrible it is.

Now I understand how fragile human life is. Perhaps the most important value for all residents of Donbass is peace.

Having left on a business trip, I could not return to my hometown
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