“Оn the second day, my friend stopped answering my messages.“

Arina, Kharkiv region, 17.03.22

“Оn the second day, my friend stopped answering my messages.“

Hello! My name is Arina, and I am from Kharkiv. Here is the basis of all my memories. Here I cried and laughed, and here I met almost all the people dear to me. And now they have all fled. Some to the west, some abroad, some remain, but we are no longer together. And we have only hope that we will all meet someday soon. Every day I wrote to all my friends, even those who were ashamed to write before, to find out if they were alive, not to go for a walk. What held the most significance for me were the first day of the war and the sixth. We - still children, from 8th to 11th grades, sat in the shelter at 5 am, not in bed. We woke up not far from the sounds of gunfire and explosions. Everyone was worried, nervously calling their parents and trying to uplift those who were crying. Little by little, the parents began to pick up the children. An instructor and a principal arrived and lifted our spirits a bit by saying that “war is war, and breakfast is painted“.

On the second day, my friend stopped answering my messages. There was no contact with her or her parents, I was very nervous because the last message I received was “we have explosions nearby, we are in storage“, and the news spoke of the area where she was brutally bombed. Only today she answered, on the 13th day. Why is it that we now say “March 13“ instead of “March 9“? Why do children die? Innocent people? Is this how adults who rule the whole country solve problems? On the 6th day, they started bombing my area. Sitting in the basement on an old mattress, I had no choice but to sit and pray because the explosions were so loud and close that it was dangerous and terrifying to leave the shelter at midnight.

The next day we had left town. Kharkiv, I miss it very much. It hurts me to look at what is being done to it now. The city was built for so long, it was a city where people lived happily, and so much was done to make it prosper, but what now? The Russian army even smashed the square. Stop it. We want to live, and we want peace. Why do this? Why go down in history this way? Isn't it possible to solve these problems peacefully? My acquaintances from the city near Kyiv saw the corpses of young families lying on the ground. And no one can even recover the bodies. It's haunting just to pick up the body. There may soon be a humanitarian catastrophe in the east, but people are doing everything they can to prevent this from happening. And I believe they can. I believe that together we can, but help is never unreasonable, especially now. What are you afraid of? Close the sky over Ukraine, and let us see your dads and brothers, family and friends again.

In those days, the cat helped me a lot, but always running to the apartment's basement was very difficult to decide whether to leave it in a safe place in the apartment or take it with you. But now that we are safe, she is very reassuring when I look again at the “ruins“ of my city. I want to go home more than anything. Let me return there safely. And I'm proud of my people, those who are trying to do something, moving to a safe place, those who go to the defence and those who go to the front, volunteers who take people to their hut and give them everything, even settle in renovated apartments, in which they themselves have not yet lived, provide everything. I am happy that I am Ukrainian, and I want to live in a whole, modern and peaceful Ukraine. Thank you!