On February 24, I was woken up by a phone call. I don’t remember what I was wearing that morning , I don’t remember what I did in the first hours, it was like I was stunned. I wanted to close my eyes and wake up again, so that all this was not real. But the phone in my hands was proving the reality of what was happening by the minute: news channels, dozens of chats with my friends and acquaintances from almost all over the country. Reports of explosions, frightened people. The air became thick and heavy, as it happens when you try to take a breath underwater.
I am a journalist by profession, ready to work in in emergency situations, we are taught to be prepared. Although it seems to me, to this you’re never quite ready.
I was incredibly lucky — at that time I was out of the risk zone, because after studying I was just doing an internship in Poland. The first impulse was to drop everything and return to Ukraine. I even started packing, but my friends asked me not to make hasty decisions. The situation did not get better in a day, two days, or a week. But it became clearly clear – this is a real war against our people. Unfair, wild and cruel.
All your own I spent my childhood and youth in Kharkiv. I love this city and know every corner of it, and now every day I see it being destroyed by Russian missiles. I’ve always dreamed of traveling a lot and writing about amazing places around the world. Now I start every day by raising funds for help, making donations, looking for volunteers, collecting information about victims and those in need.
Many of my loved ones have already left, but my friends are in the Red Cross, friends are in theroboron, and every day I wake up thinking about them and go to check if they are all right. I coordinate people and collect information – I do what I know best as a journalist, staying outside the country, so as not to waste its resources, but to invest your own in the resistance.
I take a breath and feel like I’m inhaling acrid fumes. I see the news about missile strikes on the cities where my friends and loved ones live, and I feel like I’m breaking into pieces. I dream how in the ruins of my hometown I lose my loved ones and I call them to the breakdown of the ligaments, while blue ash flies in my face. I wake up and go to do everything I have to, day after day, it’s now a matter of principle.
I believe that my people are inflexible. Now, in this monstrous ordeal, we are united and stronger than ever. This is not the time to be afraid and sit back. And I will definitely return to my beloved Kharkiv, but for now I will be useful here. I decided to create my own project to collect the stories of eyewitnesses of the war – Ukrainians like me. Against Russian propaganda, against dry facts and impersonal news. We need publicity, a chronicle of events and real evidence. Every story and detail is important. You can send a story by writing to the bot of my channel. In any language and in any volume. We need to to be together and we need to be heard. Tell us about the fact that you are alive and about what you had to face. We are together until victory.
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Nastya Krasilnikova’s channel about women and their rights.