Stories of people fleeing the war

24 june 2022
Stories of people who moved to Lviv fleeing active hostilities in their region.
Our guests - refugees who come to the office at 27 Fedorov Street, not only come to receive humanitarian aid, they carry with them a universe of memories, feelings and experiences that we are interested in discovering by communicating with them. These people came from different regions, mainly from the East of Ukraine, as well as from the southern regions and Kyiv region. Their stories touch the living and give an understanding of what war is for ordinary Ukrainians. We publish some excerpts from interviews with them.

Vincent Elena, Kherson, June 14.

Elena is a young, unusual girl, a kind of "informal", sociable, always comes with new friends. The girl from Kherson has a stable pro-Ukrainian position. Olena shared with us the story of her stay in occupied Kherson and the evacuation from there.

"At the beginning of the war, I was in the hospital to confirm my disability. This hospital was located in a nearby village near Chornobaivka, so we were bombed every day. When the war started, we didn't have heating, water or food. "

"Almost as soon as the war broke out, the Russian military approached the fence of our hospital, dug in, and set up their tank." That is, they clearly knew that they were hiding under the residential building of the hospital so that the Ukrainian army would not aim at them. Also we saw from windows launches of rockets, they put rocket installations in the field and let aside, probably, Nikolaev. There was no connection between the hospital and the city at all, we could not get any food or medicine, and we could not leave ourselves. "

"On March 12, the disability commission started working, I was sent from the hospital there. I packed up and went straight to nowhere, to the field. Fortunately, civilian cars were driving, they were hung with white rags as a sign that they were peaceful. I came with them to a completely empty city, where nothing works, no transport, no food, nothing. This was the situation in Kherson for the first two weeks. There are still no medicines in Kherson, there are 4 pharmacies in the city of 150,000. There have never been green corridors in the Kherson region since the beginning of the war. I had to draw up a disability pension, but in the occupied territories they were not issued, they told me to go to the unoccupied one. "

"They tried to evacuate us on April 25. We then passed about 70 posts, all area, 13 hours and we weren't released. Men were undressed, looking for patriotic tattoos, traces of bulletproof vests, all looked at phones, checked messengers, photos, interrogated. At one of the checkpoints we were threatened with being shot and buried in a field. We were told to return to Kherson and not even try to leave for the next 10 days. "

"Then there were rumors that the Russians will release on May 12, my friends and I decided to try. And we were released. There were more than a thousand cars in the column. We again passed about 50 posts, we were not released for a long time. The day before, no one left, they spent the night in the field. The tail of our column was fired on, there were two victims. In total, we drove to Kryvyi Rih for 21 hours. "

Olena talks about the efforts of Kherson residents to resist the occupation authorities: "At first, pro-Ukrainian rallies in Kherson took place every day, then every weekend. At first, they simply fired into the air, then threw light and noise grenades, then used tear gas, then began firing injuries at people, then threw people into paddy wagons. After that, people no longer gathered… »

Elena's mother lives in the Crimea and they cannot see each other at the moment. The girl dreams of a peaceful life with her in a free Ukraine.

112th day of full-scale Russian invasion.

Sergey, June 16. Kramatorsk

Serhiy and his wife moved from Kramatorsk, Serhiy in a wheelchair due to a recent accident. Until 2014, they lived in Donetsk, had a business, apartments, unfortunately, housing in Donetsk was destroyed, as well as later in Kramatorsk.

"Now there is almost nothing left of the house in Kramatorsk. The shell hit the house, we already lived in the basement at that time. We moved closer to the center, there is less shelling. My friend gave us a basement equipped for an office. They lived there for two or three months. Then it was clear that in Kramatorsk there will be a "tin", there will be no sense, decided to leave. On the day when they planned to leave, they arrived at the station (this is a rocket attack on the station in Kramatorsk on April 8 at 10:30 am, when many civilians were killed waiting their turn to be evacuated by train). We were saved by the fact that I did not receive a pension that day. I told the woman, "A lot of people, let's get a pension tomorrow and then we'll go," so we decided to go the day after receiving the pension. There 58 people died…. We saw all the horror of a mother and daughter losing their legs, a mother losing one, a girl both. (author: This family: Only the youngest son, who was left with things at the station, while the mother and daughter went out to drink When he arrived, Serhiy and his wife were leaving by trolleybus.

On the second day, Serhiy and his wife left for Dnipropetrovsk, then for Lviv. They say that when they left Kramatorsk, nothing worked, banks, pharmacies, shops ... "Everything was closed. Even if there was money, there would be nothing to buy. Grandmothers collected cigarette bulls and sold them for UAH 20 per kilogram of bulls. The local synagogue helped us a lot with food… ».

Serhiy and his wife spent the previous night on the street, are currently looking for temporary housing in Lviv and are planning to move abroad. They miss the times when they lived in Donetsk, had a business, a house, a stable life. They remember with fear what they saw in Kramatorsk, many bodies of the dead, which were not buried for a long time, shootings in the streets, rocket "arrivals". They support Ukraine and the Ukrainian authorities.

114th day of full-scale Russian invasion.

Group interview (Victoria, Mykola, Olena, Alla); Mariupol. June 10.


"It all started the same, at four in the morning, I wake up very early, my husband is going to work, I'm sitting on the phone. I look, they write on the Internet that something is heard in Kharkiv, then Kyiv. And here we also hear an explosion, a non-working airport was blown up next to us.

"We left at the end of April, with my dad and my husband in the car, my dad and I were friends with our daughter, who is already an adult. There were five of us in all, another guy that my husband picked up on the way, he lived with us for a month and a half, we fed and kept him. He was leaving the city center, a 24-year-old boy, where could he go, they took him in. "

"Russians lived in our house for two days. We were told to live in the basement and not to leave. One was more or less from Donetsk, Nashyn (Donetsk fought against us). Ten people lived with us, took the whole house, the poor, the hungry, drank there. That's how they get drunk, then they shoot at neighboring houses with machine guns. " "Tanks" went (Nikolay corrects, artillery installations), bombed them on all houses. You go, corpses around (it's already April). Everyone who went outside was killed indiscriminately. So my husband was afraid to go out for water, although there is 8 minutes to go to my parents. We drank rainwater. "

"Our house has been bombed five times on all sides, but the walls are intact. My parents' house was completely destroyed and my mother died there ... "

"We talked to that Donetsk resident, (we communicated with him normally, because they are all with machine guns. He said, 'Well, I don't know who you are for, for these Nazis or for us.' Ukrainians fight much better, more motivation, but, he said, they have little weapons. The Russians have a lot of weapons, but they are so illiterate, stupid ... "

"We have the village of Mangush, a small rural settlement. We heard a Russian soldier calling one of his homes there, saying, "I'm here as a foreigner." Yes, this is a village, and if you throw it in Lviv, you can imagine ...


"I live in Novoazovsk, a city 40 km from the eastern border, that's where it all started, probably from the hail."

"My son and I listened to the news from America. There, everyone clearly said that the troops at the border, how many of them are there, that they are already approaching. We packed an alarming suitcase two weeks before. When the shooting started, my son and I were sick with the coronavirus, but we decided to leave, albeit with a fever. By noon we were on the west side of town, in a safer place. We were allowed to settle where I worked before the war. We were there until March 14. "

The difficult period, or "Intensive", as our interlocutors call it, began in early March, with the lights turned off. Subsequently, the heating was also turned off. It was still very cold outside.

"People started going down to basements and cellars. Basements and bomb shelters are different, there are one and a half meters, people could not sit there in full growth. I know that after that many people had problems with their legs, in particular my neighbor, she was in the hospital with inflammation of the blood vessels, she said that there this problem was quite common, even reaching amputation.

"Many people were injured when they went out to look for water and food. My son and a girl died like that. And our neighbor died, a young woman, exploded on a mine, and her husband was very injured. In March it snowed, we collected it so that at least our hands to wash. And with food it was very difficult ... ".

"When we left, we were immediately told that if someone was taken out into a clear field (if someone didn't like you), the bus wouldn't be waiting for anyone. The guy asked to go to the toilet, he was taken with a gun because no one trusts anyone."


"We left on March 15, in the first column, at our own risk. We got to Berdyansk, we were very afraid to go from there, and only on April 8 we went to Ukraine. We had to pass 20 Russian checkpoints. And all of them stood at these posts, sorry (Mykola adds, Chechens.) And at one of the checkpoints there was a convoy of vehicles, all with the letter "Z" and the number of the region.

Some of our respondents left in April, when the occupiers had already introduced a filtration process. They said that they miraculously managed to pay off it and filter it faster, in two days, but in general, people are kept there for months. They managed to reach Lviv in 9 days.

Our guests told about Mariupol as it looked before the occupation: "If you were in Mariupol the day before ... Our city has become very beautiful recently, the mayor has invested a lot. By the way, our mayor is very friendly with yours (with the mayor of Lviv). In Lviv, the Opera House and hundred meters and in Mariupol there is also a theater, a little smaller and also such a small, supposedly, hundred-meter-long mini-Lviv. "

06/10/2022 106th era of full-scale Russian invasion.