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Stories that you confided to us

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'My granddaughter sleeps with me. She is afraid to sleep alone. If shelling starts, I will cover her with myself'

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Grandmother Valentyna Obodets, 66 years old:

War... Who knows when it will end? You get up and think, ‘will there be shooting today?’ In recent days I at least stopped getting things ready, that is a grab bag to be taken to the cellar. I sort of started taking it easier, or something. But today I heard that they are shooting again.

We had a refractory plant here. Now it does not work anymore. We used to have Mezhkolkhozstroy, a motor vehicle repair plant, and a geological exploration company. There was always a queue for buying fertilizers in the spring. We have a railway track passing right there. A grain processing factory used to operate here too. Grain was brought here in wagons from collective farms. A lot of companies used to work here, and now there is nothing.

Ободец Валентина Григорьевна и внучка Елизавета

In May it will be one year since my daughter died. My younger daughter, she was 39 years old. Three children are left without a mother. The eldest is now a big girl. The middle one is fourteen. She was thirteen then. And the youngest one, she was one and a half years old, now is already two years old.

It’s scary, and I don’t want to think about it. My daughter was treating herself at home. She suffered a pneumonia and died. We do not have jobs here. There is nothing else here except for some shops. And those are private shops that people managed to open. My daughter had lost her job and she did not have money for treatment. She burned to death in two weeks.

Before that, much earlier, in 2002, I lost my other daughter. She was 29 years old. It was very hot in the summer and she fainted, fell down and hit her head. She underwent a surgery, but she died. A 9-year-old girl, my granddaughter, left alone. She is 26 now and she already has her own child.

Ободец Валентина Григорьевна и внучка Елизавета

War is fear. It’s scary when you are lying under a tree while these “Grads” [rocket launchers] are shooting. In 2014–2015, it was terrible here. Something awful was going on here! Houses were on fire. We spent almost two years in the cellar. Now there is still some firing, but not as intense as in 2014-2015. It was the “holy fear”.

My daughter was very scared. She was shivering all over, when we were staying in the cellar. A shell fell and exploded some five meters away from the cellar. I thought they would bury us here alive if we stayed alive. You can hardly imagine it. One neighbour was killed and the other neighbour was injured.

We were knocked senseless. It turns out that you need to open your mouth when they shoot, but I didn’t know that. I was deaf with explosions and my ears were blocked. The doctors said that it was a concussion, a shell-shock, and that it would pass with time, just I should not be nervous. Well, tell me, please, how can I not be nervous in my life? This is how we live.

Ободец Валентина Григорьевна и внучка Елизавета

Granddaughter Yelizaveta, 14 years old: 

On 3 June 2015, there was a shelling. It lasted six hours, I think. That was the worst shelling in our area.

There is a building with a bomb shelter not far from our village. And many people ran there to hide. After this shelling, many houses were destroyed and many people died.

Ободец Валентина Григорьевна и внучка Елизавета

On 4 June, we were supposed to have the last school-year day, finishing the fourth form of school. It is clear that it did not take place, because on 3 June our school was hit by shellfire.

 In the past, we used to have people living in every house. But now, because of the war, many houses have been destroyed and many people have left. Before the war, I could go out, and I had friends nearby. We could take a walk, but now I have to go to another street or even further to meet some friends.

Ободец Валентина Григорьевна и внучка Елизавета


I am 66 and she is 14 years old. Well, of course, she says, ‘Grandma, what do you understand?’ I start explaining it to her and she understands, she is a big girl. The difference is too big, 50 years of difference. Of course, they would need a mother. But if they do not have one, then what shall they do? They are my granddaughters, my blood.

The granddaughter does not let me get bored even for a second, even at night. That is why I live and hold on. I know that I have to live until the children become grown up. Well, and then... I ask God for at least 10 years, so that Lord would give me that. 

She is small. She sleeps with me, because when we had shelling, we were afraid to let her sleep separately. I thought I’d cover her with myself. And so now she doesn’t sleep alone, as she is afraid. She is used to sleeping with me. That is why I think, if they start shooting, if pieces of glass crumble, I will cover her, my little, with my body and that’s it.

Ободец Валентина Григорьевна и внучка Елизавета

When quoting a story, a reference to the source – the Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation – is mandatory, as follows:

The Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation

Rinat Akhmetov Foundation Civilian Voices Museum
Krasnogorivka 2014 2015 Video Civilian's stories pensioners children 2014 2015 psychological injury shelling loss of loved ones safety and life support
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