To Defenders of Freedom

A 15-year-old girl from Mariupol spent two weeks filming events in her hometown

Alyona Zagreba is 15 years old, she plays the ukulele and sings, loves to shoot videos, and dreams of cinematography. And this is her second forced relocation. In 2014, the girl and her parents left Luhansk region, later the family settled in Mariupol. After the full-scale Russian invasion, Alyona decided to film her life. She showed two weeks in a seven-minute edited video: broken windows, a burned-out car near a hospital, a fire in a nearby house, a fire in a neighbor’s house, collecting snow to melt for water, cooking over a campfire, spending the night in the hallway, then at a friends’ place.

On March 15, Alyona’s father managed to get service and called the girl’s brother in Canada. The brother told them about the organized evacuation, but the family did not believe it. Friends of Alyona’s parents had a radio, where they heard again about leaving the city — and again did not dare to go. When they saw cars with the words “Children” and white armbands on March 16, they decided to give it a try. They managed to reach Dnipro in nine hours, even when the convoy was under fire.

Now the girl and her family are abroad. There she continues to shoot videos, but is hesitant to share footage of a peaceful life. She is also getting used to not waking up at four in the morning — the family had to live in this mode under constant fire from a cruel enemy.

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