The diary of a survivor in Kyiv. March 16. “Escaped from the Hell”

Refugees in Kyiv. Photo Anatolii Shara

Since February 24, we have witnessed the brutal war started by Putin’s Russia against Ukraine. The pictures of the exhausted people from the Irpin damaged bridge became viral worldwide. The people, who survived, are transported from here to safer places. I came here again to talk with those who experienced the hell or all the niceties of the Russian world.

The ambulances, the Red Cross cars, vans of the ordinary people, under the permanent shelling from the Russians, are leaving the bridge in a hurry. The quickly made so-called bridge carries out children, older people, disabled people, pets. One of the nurses stationed here told me: “The ordinary people are coming here at their own risk. They want to help somehow those in serious trouble for so many days. The Russians don’t give a damn who is you. Even if you wear a Red Cross shirt or Press, they shoot you.”

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Refugees in Kyiv. Photo Anatolii Shara

One of my friends, who is a member of the territorial defence, contacted the Ukrainian soldiers providing security here on the bridge. They asked us to drive and help people in the village of Bilogorodka. People need to be resettled, given psychological assistance, etc. Bilogorodka is a hub for all evacuated people from the bombed-out towns and villages. There are kitchen wagons, improvised health posts, psychologists’ posts arranged in the square. I cannot describe the atmosphere here. It’s similar to a fusion of happiness that you are alive, despair because of ruined houses and life as a whole, confusion from the uncertain future.

The next convoy consists of buses and cars is arriving at the square of Bilogorodka. They all have white ribbons significant papers with the inscription “CHILDREN” “PEOPLE” attached to the windscreens. Some of the side windows are destroyed with bullets.

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Refugees in Kyiv. Photo Anatolii Shara

I came up to a young woman holding by the hand her little daughter. She is from Gostomel, a small town close to Kyiv. “When these jackals arrived at the town, they started to make a list of pro-Ukrainian activists, guys from the territorial defence units…They broke into apartments, houses, took all the food, dresses, jewellery, phones as if they had never seen them before. If there was alcohol, they just drank it right away! They pulled the people out of their homes. They shot someone who resisted them to loot. Despite their bravado, they were afraid of the Ukrainian soldiers and put their APVs near the houses. Some of the invaders were Chechens.

They were very frightened and tried to get together in flocks. Almost all of them constantly shot videos, repeating all the time “Akhmad sila, bro” (meaning “Akhmad is a power, brother”. Akhmat was the father of Ramzan Kadyrov, former head of the Chechen Republic). It seemed that the Chechens were more about Instagram or TikTok blogging than being soldiers. Then there was a fierce battle…Helicopters, tanks, shelling…The Chechens hysterically left behind all their possessions and skedaddled in a strong hurry, leaving the scared Russian soldiers alone. We have lost everything. Our house, little garden. Fuck! We lost our life! I hate everything about Russians!” Then the woman burst into tears, and I accompanied her to a psychologist post.

Attacked car in Kyiv. Photo Anatolii Shara

“Hey, buddy!” – said a wavering voice behind me. I turned in its direction. There was a huge man looks like 2 Vitalii Klichkos (a famous Ukrainian boxer), and he was shivering. “Could you gimme a cigarette? I just can’t pull myself together. Shit! I know I look like a piece of shit!!”. I gave up smoking just five years ago, so my friend gave this guy a cigarette. But as his hands were seriously shaken, he asked to put a cigarette directly into his mouth. He blew out a massive plume of smoke, breathed deeply, and started to talk: “I’ve never seen so many corpses…I don’t care about the Russian Orcs. There are many shot to death civilians in the streets and along the road. I was sent as a volunteer to evacuate people from Bucha by my own van”, – he pointed with a hand to a van with the huge inscription on the side back “PEOPLE”. And continued: “I saw a man shot to death near the city. He was coming to the city in his own car with a white flag…He tried to bring food for pets’ shelter. They killed him. Shit. What for? They are pure devils. Then the corpses can be seen on the streets… Innocent women and children…They robbed all the shops. Fucking jackals! The Russians are not human beings. Our soldiers should not capture them alive. They must shoot all of them… They shouldn’t live!!”, – he stopped talking and started to cry.

Suddenly, an old woman came to us and said: “The hell started on March 5. The fightings were just on the streets. Our [Ukrainian] troops retreated and then came back. Then the Russians again. There was no water, no electricity… The Russian tank shot directly at the neighbour’s house… Everybody died there. All the family. Then they shot at us. Luckily, we went to the cellar. When they looted the supermarket and behaved like pigs, we asked them why they shot at civic houses? They answered that there were allegedly snipers’ spots. Fucking bastards. Let all of them die ASAP. They will be cursed forever!”

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Attacked car in Kyiv. Photo Anatolii Shara

There are a lot of ways to leave Bilogorodka. But there are no ways to forget the road to here. It’s full of misery unhappiness. The people who sit in the evacuation buses looked at the void. There’s no life in their eyes anymore. And no one knows when life comes back to them.

The more I talked to the people who suffered from the Russian invasion, the more I understood that the Russians deliberately dehumanised themselves. Nobody feels compassion for their injured soldiers, the captives, all the people want them dead. That’s what they have achieved themselves. The people of Ukraine are eager to want retribution eagerly. Everybody will tell you this.

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