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Stories that you confided to us

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Liubov Fedorivna Ruchka
age: 80
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"My dream is to wait for peace and live to the age of 100"

She does not wish to live anywhere else but her village. She saw a lot of destruction during the shelling attack – the children's house was completely destroyed. She is already tired of this war.

The third bomb fell near the pear tree and got stuck there. Emergency workers took it. They said, "Thank God it didn't explode. There wouldn't be a soul left alive in this area."

Our Marianka was the best town in the region — clean and very green. There were so many roses, many flowers there. People around were always kind, nice and responsive. We were very often visited by artists – all who were in Ukraine and in Russia.  Well, and then? Never in their life did anyone think that Ukraine would be in this situation.

I worked for 46 years in the Finance Department of the Executive Committee. When this mess started in 2014, I was working as a chief accountant for the territorial election commission. The Chairman came and said, "Fedorivna, we have troops stationed here." I said, "What are they doing here?"

My daughter lived in the village. Donetsk is three kilometers away from this place. There is a nice, new village nearby, where they lived. One day she came and said, "Mom, I'm coming from work, some military people have blocked the road, everyone is being checked."

The Chairman said, "Fedorivna, clearing is about to happen." I sat and looked at him and laugh, "Who will be cleared. Me? I'm retired now. Well, let them clear us up." I couldn't even imagine what a clean-up was.

The 11th January is my birthday. We had a really good time. First we came home from work and sat in the afternoon. Then relatives and friends came over. There were about twenty people. At ten o'clock we went home. And a bit later, at around eleven o'clock the lights went out and the mobile phones went off. The Marianka was in flames.  This constant bombing... The came from Yelyzavetivka and Antonivka.

My dream is to wait for peace and live to the age of 100

My husband was in the shower. He flew out naked as the day one was born and screamed, "This is a clean-up for you, this is war!" 

Then we saw that the tire plant was on fire. There was a lot of water in the yard, and something was rattling. I jumped out in the direction of the gazebo, and there was not a single pane of glass left. Three barrels of 200 liters were broken. We always collect, and then pour warm water from them into the garden… Everything has been destroyed. Everything was on fire.

My daughter Victoriia got through to me, "Mom, run!" I asked, "Where are you going? I'll open the gate for you now." She said, "Mom, Where should we go. Shells exploded behind us!" They then ran to the edge of Marianka, to their relatives.

I can't get through to my son. He arrived by car about 02:10 a.m., "We packed quickly!" They have us green light for half an hour to leave Marianka. We went in what we were wearing. I was wearing a bathrobe, my husband was in sweatpants. A priest we have become friends with gave us a puppy. Husband took him in his hands. Then we went away, leaving everything behind.

I called Nina Antonivna in the morning. She is my neighbor, a beautiful woman. She has a beautiful family. I said, "What is there in Marianka?» "Where are you?" I said, "I have relatives in Novoselydivka." She said, "Don't come yet, it is it so horrible here."

My son and I arrived on the third day. I had a hundred heads of poultry. Now of them are dead due to a direct hit to the service yard. Two other hits landed in the garden. There were so big pits... you would not see me if get into one of them. We brought ground in two six-ton trucks, but even that was not enough.

The third bomb fell near the pear tree and got stuck there. Emergency workers took it. They said, "Thank God it didn't explode. There wouldn't be a soul left alive in this area."

My dream is to wait for peace and live to the age of 100

We meet periodically. Nina looked after the house. Children had to wandered around. They went to one school, then to another school. Then we went to Zaporizhzhia. Now both I and my son and daughter-in-law live in Marianka.

We sat in the basement for 18 hours. It was impossible to get out. You begin to think, "If only they didn't destroy the house. Don't let it our house." Husband died due to this. We buried him in 2014. I would not wish it to anyone. 

On 5 January 2015, son-in-law went to work, and then  heavy bombing began. The house was completely destroyed. It was a direct hit. One pile of earth remained. Only the slate remained on top. No kitchen, no garage, no nothing. This January was very restless. It was unbearable. 

My dream is to wait for peace and live to the age of 100

They live with me now. Here is the key to their house. They built it for 11 years. Whenever we got a salary, or pension, we bought something to continue the repairs. And then everything was destroyed in an instant. We still have a credit to pay. We bought kitchen equipment, a car, a stove. They managed to pay it off only last year. 

The yard is full of filth. It was unbearable to see ans to hear all this. The girls spent days in the basement. The smaller granddaughter would laugh when they started shooting. She had a nervous breakdown. They were saved by bulletproof vests. We found them nearby…  

Many neighbors stayed in the basement as well. This is because the lower street is full of water in the basements. I have a whole-room basement. We kept cinder blocks, boards, mattresses, blankets on the cinder blocks there. There was a TV and a heater, too. We made some tea there. The cat and dog knew when to run to the basement. 

This year, there is much less shooting. However, it still happens. Even today I heard a shooting sound, as if something exploded nearby. That's how we live, little by little.

Now people are coming back, children are going to school again. The outpatient clinic is operational, as well as the community centre. The post, the bank and the social protection office have restored their work.

My roof was knocked to pieces. It had holes through and through. You could watch the stars at night.

Luckily, I got it fixed this year. I would like to express my gratitude to volunteers from Odessa and emergency workers. I bow down before them. I had eight of them working for me, and they restored the roof in three days. The day before yesterday I had a call, "How are you, Fedorivna?" I responded, "I wonder when will you come to visit me." We laughed.

I want to live in Marianka. I'm Ukrainian. My grandfather and grandmother were Ukrainians, as well as my father and mother. I had one Russian husband, and the other was from Western Ukraine.

My dream is to wait for peace and live to the age of 100. I wish people would come back and live normal lives. I wish we could gather up as we used to, Have some lovely time.

I want peace, only peace! The common people have nothing to do with it. We live like a nut, a seed in its shell. That is exactly how I live.

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