‘Bukvy’ continues documenting Russian war crimes and stories of civilian deaths in Mariupol and other Ukrainian territories. These are the stories from ‘Museum of Civilian Voices’ established by the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation.
90-year-old Nadiia comes from Orikhiv, Zaporizhzhia region. She is now surviving the second war in her life.
‘When Orihiv began to be heavily shelled, we went to our granddaughter, it was February 28. The nerves could not stand it, they were shooting, everything was exploding… We ran out of the house in our home clothes’, she recollects.
The husband of Nadiia’s granddaughter was killed by the Russian army. When he was delivering mail in the village, he came across an enemy tank, which shot him at close range without warning.
‘They are worse than the Germans [were during the Second World War]. The Germans did not kill children, at least in our village.’
Liubov managed to escape from the bombings on an evacuation bus from her native Huliaipole, Zaporizhzhia region. Until the first day of the full-scale invasion, she could not believe in such a scenario.
‘Our town is on the border of three regions – Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro and Donetsk, so we could perfectly hear the military vehicles driving along the highway from everywhere.’
As of the beginning of October, the enemy continues to shell the towns of Zaporizhzhia region, including Huliaipole, some of them have already been wiped off the face of the earth. Liubov says that there are only a few left in her native town – the elderly, the sick and those who take care of them.
‘Our [forces] warned and asked us to evacuate, because they have to defend the country. This is war! But Russians shoot at everything – at stores, hospitals, educational institutions, they do not’ care.’
Oleksandra is 14, the full-fledged Russian invasion caught her in Mariupol.
She woke up at 4 am on February 24 to loud explosions, but with the hope that it would end quickly.
‘I read in the school group there would be no classes. Then I came to the kitchen and saw my mother who was crying. Everything broke down for me.’
For almost a month, Oleksandra was staying with other people in the gym, which served as a shelter for them. They managed to evacuate in the end of March.
The girl’s wish is to return to Mariupol, but she will not go their until the city is Ukraine-controlled again.