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29/06/2022

Nowornever:StoryofayoungfamilyinKharkiv

– Rockets!
The kids looked around and hugged in silence.
The house was shaking.

Half an hour later, we learned the “Grad” multiple rocket launchers had shelled the neighbouring quarter. In one car, an entire family was killed—parents and two children. They were driving to the well to get some water. We used to go to the same well from time to time.

Riddled houses, shattered windows, blood on the snow-clad pavements. I was peering into the photos and recognising the streets I used to walk along. That was when I first thought about it carefully: we must find a way to leave.

My husband and I each took a bag and decided to bring them up to the flat.The kid was in the basement with our friends. As we reached the entrance to the house, a jet whined overhead.

I don’t remember us darting into the house or a couple with a dog jumping in with us to our flat. In a few minutes, we heard awful blasts. I was flurried and stuttering, one thing on my mind: – I’m not with my kid now. A hellish moment I will never be able to forget.

I did not sleep a wink that night. Our neighbours started packing nervously at the break of dawn. The very thought that we had to leave our haven cut the legs out from under me. But the fear for my kid did not leave me any choice.

We had forgotten to take the kid’s slippers, sketchbooks, games, pencils from the basement when we went up. Then all our things were ready in half an hour. We were leaving behind well-nigh everything that had mattered recently. “Ma, why are you hurrying? Why are you crying? I’m scared!” the kid was shaking, and I had no idea what to do.

When we finally left the house to get into our car, explosions started again.
“Now or never!” my husband grabbed my hand, and we got into the car.

There are lots of others like us around. Cars laden with things, with sheets of paper attached to them saying “Children.” Everyone is driving quietly, carefully, as if spinning into a salvatory thread. At some point, it dawns on me that all of us, hundreds of people in this salvatory jam, are targets for the troops.

Behind us is a millionaire city. Kharkiv. One big unbowed target. 

THIS IS A SURVIVAL STORY. BUT THOUSANDS OF UKRAINIANS WILL NOT BE ABLE TO TELL THEIR STORIES — RUSSIANS KILLED THEM. SPREAD THE TRUTH. HELP US BRING RUSSIA TO JUSTICE FOR WAR CRIMES.

*All stories are real and were taken from interviews, stories, recordings and personal blogs.
Original story in UA is here.