I want to start with a message that I sent to my sister in Moscow back in February.
“I’m going to write to you now as a person who lives for one hour, who can lose his home, relatives, and life itself every minute.
There have been various turning points in our 1300-year history. And now it’s like this, when people suddenly realize who they really are. You can vote for the Kherson People’s Republic today at gunpoint, tomorrow — for Kharkiv, the day after tomorrow — for Chernihiv. But the true events of these days will forever remain in the genetic code of people. And when the next historical crossroads comes again, people will remember who they are. This is the genetic code of the nation.”
On February 24, we sit in the morning, drink coffee with Anya. Thunder, explosions — I immediately said: “The war.”
I received a message from a teacher in the school chat: “Shanovni Batki, new Year’s children are home!”. On this day, the children did not go to kindergartens, their mothers did not go to work.
From the first days, aviation began to arrive, right in broad daylight. Basements began to be equipped for bomb shelters — unsuitable, cold, often with one entrance. Siren — very often, an air alarm — every two hours.
The CHP was destroyed — hot water and heating disappeared. After a day or two, electricity and cold water disappeared, and in in some areas and gas. Problems with communication, phone charging, unavailability of information…
My eldest grandson (8 years old) managed to leave with another grandmother to visit his father in the Czech Republic. After it turned out that half of the city’s population had left.
The city was practically under blockade. Bombs and “grads” destroyed infrastructure. Schools were bombed (our 19th too), kindergartens, a stadium, a library, residential buildings…
food warehouses were bombed, burned for two days, a lot the food was destroyed. Stores didn’t work, there was no way to replenish mobile phone accounts — friends from other countries replenished me cities. The most necessary products are in short supply. A queue for bread was shot from a drone near our house, 16 people were left lying on the asphalt. And by what miracle did I not go there?
All this is creepy, of course… People carried water with their hands from afar, the sewage system also did not work. When the bridge over the Desna was bombed, we were completely cut off. The blockade of Chernihiv eventually lasted 42 days. We had one a beautiful city, so comfortable to live in, where 80% are Russian—speaking Ukrainians. And then the Russian army came and turned it into ruins.
What is most often remembered? Probably nights without sleep, when you lie and wait, that planes will arrive. And you know for sure that they will arrive, and you know for sure that they will kill. Question: Are you? Or fate will give you another day… These days I was sent from Russia: “Don’t hate us. We will pay for everything soon, everyone will be asked.” But from Minsk: “We watch Zelensky every day! We are watching a briefing with Ursula von der Leyen. It’s very impressive, Lena, your grandchildren will live in another country, and this is very fair.” I would like to live even before this new country… I really want to.
On the last night before the withdrawal of the Russian troops there was a brutal and senseless shelling cities. Smoke, fire, glow like day… Life was very difficult for us. Well, God help him, we’ll manage. If only they, our saviors, would leaveus forever. The city and people began to move away from the bombing and shelling, life goes on. A 90-year—old grandfather in the suburbs bred five chickens even in such conditions – these are our people.
Our favorite black appeared round bread, humanitarian aid was delivered. It’s really bad with medications, but after The Red Cross can get something. ATMs are not working, cash is in the price. The post office is working, pensions have been delivered. So far, it is not recommended to return to the city. A lot of mines, a lot of destruction, few resources. They are trying to fix the water, they have given light.
The war continues. I was at work yesterday, for a couple of hours. The windows were knocked out, the shards were swept away. What about the equipment,
will it start? And now it’s wet and cold… But the flowers bloomed in spite of everything