“Good evening, we are from Ukraine!“
Yevhen, Mykolaiv region, 27.03.2022
“Good evening, we are from Ukraine!“
Beginning my story, I want to note that war is always a disaster for any country, for any people, for each family, and individual. Human life is the highest value in the civilized world, and this value must be protected, preserved, and promoted. No tyrant, driven by his absurd ideas, can start a war against peaceful people in search of ghostly “Banderas“ while carrying out senseless and absurd “denationalization“ and “denazification“ campaigns. There is no excuse and justification for the deaths of innocent children and the bombing and destruction of peaceful cities.
The war of the Russian Federation against our state, Ukraine, began on February 24th, 2022. I heard the first echoes of the war from my mother when she woke me up at 6 am and said that… the military airfield was shelled. Later, through the Internet (social media), we learned about the bombing of many other cities in our country. At first, I had a feeling that this was not possible, not real and, only later the information was confirmed. Videos of clouds of smoke over the airport appeared on social media. Soon, the gymnasium's principal reported that the classes were terminated, and children were sent on forced (impromptu) vacations. The school holidays have already begun, and they will last until March 28th, 2022, in our city.
From the very beginning, there was confusion and fear of war since I only saw it in school textbooks, as I teach history at high school. My mother and I first decided to stock up on food and water, and we were afraid that the lights would be turned off and our city would soon be bombed.
When we were grocery shopping in the supermarket, people were afraid. I was also scared, but I tried to disguise it. There were huge queues at the checkout, and people swept everything on their way. There were also huge queues at ATMs. All this time, I checked my phone to get some information, reading any information I could find online about the events. We immediately began stocking up on water, collecting empty bottles and other containers. It was great that our government was not silent, and provided all possible information about what was happening in the country, but in my opinion, there was still some uncertainty.
The first days of the war were psychologically difficult. Russia was rapidly advancing in the South, it became especially challenging when the “Rashists“ occupied many cities of the Kherson region, the city of Kherson, and we started hearing about the explosion of Mykolayiv bridges and the attacks and hostilities in our area.
On the evening of February 25th, Russian paratroopers landed in our city near the …, and machine gun fire and helicopters were heard all over the city. On February 26th, a column of Russian troops broke into our city, but courageous defenders repulsed attacks by the enemy (Russian) army. The city suffered its first wave of destruction. It should be noted that the city and regional authorities did not leave the people. They calmed us down and communicated with us via social media. And it was at that time, that the legendary phrase of our head … appeared: “Good evening, we are from Ukraine!“ There was some hope and reassurance after the speeches of … and Mayor ….
My mother and I tried to get away from all this endless flow of information, distance ourselves, start cultivating the soil, clean our yard, and build an improvised bomb shelter in our garage in case of bombing. But still, the phone was always there in case of an air alarm.
A terrible event happened in our city on the morning of March 7th, when the Russian occupiers fired rockets from the grenade launchers “Tornado“ on residential areas of the city of …and its suburbs. I talked to my colleagues, who said that constant shelling had begun in … areas.
Block of flats, alongside private houses, caught on fire. And it should be stressed that these shellings occur periodically up to this date from the temporarily occupied Kherson. Every day, there are at least 3-5 air alarms. People are holding on and striving for one thing - our victory.
People began to unite and help each other, the Ukrainian army, and the city of …. There is a kindergarten on our street. From the beginning of the Ukrainian-Russian war, people got together, trying to protect it - they loaded sandbags for the city's defenders and unloaded trucks with food for Ukrainian soldiers and heroes. People (residents) mobilized, and together we helped the soldiers at the checkpoints and brought them cigarettes, coffee, and tea. Our people have this ability to unite and work together in the most challenging moments of their history.)
We must also take care of our “younger“ friends, the animals around us. They do not understand what war is and they are terribly stressed from explosions and shootings. We must feed the animals which were left behind by their owners.
My mother and I donated blood for wounded Ukrainian soldiers. By the way, I personally became a donor for the first time, there was a certain degree of fear, but everything went well, I felt proud of myself and also created memories for life!)).
Many changes happen to a person during the war, especially when the war is close by. I felt it myself, and you start listening to the sounds around you. You are scared of turning on the lights and keep sitting in the dark more often than not. After the first shelling, my family and I began to go to bed fully dressed so that we could get up faster during air raids and go to the improvised bomb shelter. We always keep a mobile phone with the Air Alarm program on.
When there are no air alarms (sirens), it's great to go out and stroll through the city streets, go to the supermarket or just go buy bread from our factory. It helps to relieve a little anxiety, especially when the weather is good and the sun is shining. We have already started preparing a vegetable garden and planting potatoes, onions, and pruning grapes, and you may notice that our neighbors are doing the same.
But you know there are somber feelings when you walk along the road in the direction of Odessa (which passes through our neighborhood) and see so many cars with the signs “Children.“ People leave the city and become temporarily displaced or refugees, and this is yet another negative consequence of the war. People are forced to leave crowded cities, but ultimately life is the only thing that matters!
I have cultivated a new habit. Every morning I go out and check if there are any further destructions, whether all the houses are intact or if there is anybody who needs help on my street, where I spent my childhood.
But life goes on, and recently it was reported that the city of … received the highest recognition - “The Hero City.“ On March 28th, online teaching was resumed in …. I do want to work, communicate with the children, and see them all. But the biggest of my wishes is that this war ends as soon as possible.
We will definitely win because we are fighting and defending our own land, Motherland. I want to walk the quiet and sunny streets of my native … and I believe this will happen soon …….
GLORY TO UKRAINE!!
WE WILL WIN……
You know, I will never forget the first meeting with children, when we resumed classes (after March 28), although the meeting took place remotely, through Zoom, I could feel the warmth coming from the children and their desire to communicate and share their emotions and worries, and to learn. Because of the horrors of the war (the danger of staying in the city or in the district, which are constantly shelled) many families with children left our city for other countries or calmer parts of Ukraine, although those are only relatively calm. Many buildings, where they used to live, are damaged or destroyed. The children shared their stories, talked about how they lived through the beginning of the war, often their told that they had to hide from the bombings in shelters, move places.
In my opinion, in is very relevant, that children shared their stories, it is unnecessary to keep everything to oneself in such difficult times. They need communication, so together with students, we held such communication circles during our meetings. Besides that, the children were trying to be strong, they said that they were not afraid of explosions, especially the boys would say that, but they all were under significant stress…
Our work would often be interrupted by air-raid sirens (artillery shellings), it is very unfortunate that the bombings of our […] happen till today, a lot of residential buildings are destroyed in our wonderful city, infrastructure objects are getting destroyed, civilians are getting killed, adults and children. In this situation, it is important to not get tired or stop believing in our victory, we need the children’s support, and it is difficult not only for those who are in […], but also for those who had to leave, you can feel when you talk to the acquaintances and friends who are abroad, people miss their native […] and their Ukraine.
When you go to the city, you see that it is half empty and is at the frontline, empty streets, a lot of entertainment establishments are closed, even though it is summer and people should relax and walk the streets of sunny […], one can feel the fear and the desire to move quickly, especially when you see the windows broken because of the shootings and the destroyed people’s belongings. Unfortunately, there are water supply problems in […], Russian army shelled from the temporarily occupied Kherson region and destroyed the water supply with drinking water coming from Dnipro, so the residents of the city have to stand in long lines to get drinking water, although the local government has fixed the supply of water for technical uses for the city residents.
But still the most important is the support we provide to one another; we should never give up and keep believing in our victory. People should unite around this idea of freedom and free Ukraine. We have to stand until the victory and the liberation of all of Ukraine.