(Dnipro. Special envoys) Alina lost her friends. Nothing happened to her, they just don’t talk to her anymore. She went with her family to dnipro and they went to other cities, or even left the country. It is one more in the multiplication of lateral tragedies, a life that changed forever without the need for death, but that feels similar. “If they loved me, they would have already written to me. But we don’t talk, I don’t have contact with any of them, ”he says. She has, yes, a boyfriend. He is with her in Dnipro and got a job, so he does not spend the day in her shelter, but he is the one with whom he talks about her feelings the most. Alina is 18 years old and responds almost like an automaton, taken by a seriousness that conveys infinite sadness. Her mother is called Irina and is next to her. She watches her speak and it shows that she is hurt by the state of her daughter.
Irina says:Bakhmut it’s really the hottest spot today”. It is not that she has seen the news or that she has information from the army: Irina is from Bakhmut and had to leave with her family when the most violent stage of the attempt to take the city by the Russians began.
“When we were evacuated, two months ago, there was a lot of shelling around, there were shots, explosions. It was horrendous and we were very scared. We left in one of the volunteer cars that were helping to get people out of there,” he says. Next to her were her husband and her daughter Alina.
Alina says that she misses her home from her city, but mainly her grandmother. She is still there because she works as a nurse and is assigned to one of the hospitals in the city, and she did not want to leave. “They told her that she could leave but if she did she would lose her job, because they need a lot of nurses there now, so she decided to stay. But we are very distressed because we also have no contact, there is no connection there so we have not heard anything for several days. We are waiting for someone to go there to find out how she is doing, ”she says.
According to data from UNHCRthe United Nations Refugee Agencynearly 14 million people they left their homes in Ukraine. The number represents a third of the total population of the country. Also, close to 6 millions of people had to leave not only their home but also their city. He 87% of them are women or children.
Many others decided to leave the country. Since the beginning of the war, 9.3 million people crossed from Ukraine to Poland. Throughout the year, many also returned, but in European countries there are at least 8 million Ukrainian refugees.
dnipro It is one of the cities that receives the most internally displaced persons because it is close to almost all the battlefronts: Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Bakhmut, Vuhledar.
Vadim is one of the many citizens who when the war started decided to help in some way. He had just rented a place to set up a business, but February 24 he decided he would turn it into a shelter. He refurbished it and since August he has received compatriots from all over.
“Dnipro is now a much more depressed city than it was before. We are very close to the battle line, there is tension that goes up and down all the time. However, we try to support each other. There is a union of shelters. There is 27 shelters in the city, and we all help each other. I want to help everyone I can. It’s the only way we can get out of this situation,” she says.
Today there are 23 people and they have room for 39. If more are needed, they can even add beds on the first floor, where there is a computer for common use, the bathrooms and a few more rooms.
Downstairs, in the main room, there are about 15 beds. They were built by Vadim himself with the help of friends. In one of the corners of this environment there are books and board games. One of the boys who is in the shelter has a cell phone in his hand and is playing call of duty, a war game. Her mother’s name is Tatyana and she has been in the shelter for several months. “The situation in Bakhmut was horrible when we decided to leave. There was permanent bombing, everyone was living in the underground shelters. You couldn’t be there,” she says, stroking one of her two cats.
First, she evacuated with her two children, ages 14 and 7, as well as her two cats, which they did not intend to leave behind. A few weeks later her husband also left. Today they don’t know if her house is still standing or was destroyed by a bombing. There are hardly any of her neighbors left on her block, and those who are cannot communicate.
His eldest son, Stepan, says that his friends are everywhere in Ukraine, but none in Dnipro. There are two of them that remained in Bakhmut, or were there until a while ago. Today he doesn’t know anything about them. His younger brother, Illya, says that he was scared when they were in Bakhmut but he didn’t understand what was happening.
“Unfortunately they saw it all with their own eyes, so there wasn’t much more information to give them. They experienced it themselves, unfortunately. And on the other hand, they have their phones and there is a lot of information online, so they read everything,” says her mother, who assures that they will return to the city when she fully recovers and that there will be “a huge party” there.
Bakhmut, they tell us later, is -was- a city famous in the Ukraine for its champagne production. “All the cellars are full of sparkling wine,” says Nalyshna. She is a 69-year-old woman who arrived at the shelter alone and dreams of returning. The way she dreams of her, now, is with tears in her eyes.
-When did you leave Bakhmut?
-In September. Everything was horrible there. The building was on fire, people were falling. From my bed I could hear the sound of the missiles coming. And everything was on fire, but I want to go back anyway. My home. We are going to rebuild it brick by brick. I don’t know how it will all end, we are waiting. What the Russians did to our country… They say that the Russians are against us, that we are their enemies, but some of them are on our side.
Nalyshna pauses to compose herself and says that she is still confident. that they will return To your home, to your home. And she appreciates the interview and says nice things. She seems like one of those people who prefers to always think of nice things, but she’s having trouble coming up with it. She sits in her house and says: “Bakhmut, Bakhmut.” Smile. “I’m sure there aren’t any champagne bottles in the cellars anymore,” she says, a little wistfully, and she raises her arms as if that doesn’t bother her so much. “We’ll do more,” she says. “We’ll do more.”
Those who wish to help Vadim’s shelter can do so on the following accounts, or contact him via instagram at @fond_opekun.
Account in dollars
SWIFT CODE: COSBUAUKDNI
SWIFT CODE: COSBUAUKDNI
Recipient of payment: CHARITY ORGANIZATION “TUTOR” CHARITY FUND
Bank: Branch of DNIPROPETROVSKE OU JSC “OSCHADBANK”
Bank MFO: 305482
Payment Purpose: Charitable Assistance
Photos and video: Franco Fafasuli
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