Three Ukrainian women recount their daily lives in the face of war

6:30 AM, June 21, 2022

They don’t know each other, and they probably never will. However, all three have one thing in common: the courage to resist. Svetlana refused to leave her village of Luch, now located on the front line north of Mykolaiv, an industrial and port city in the south of the country. Left a warm Austrian comfort by the brutality of the guns in Sloviansk in Donbass, eastern Ukraine, pathologist and director of the Mikolaev mortuary, Olga Derogen, finally did not hold back in the face of the influx of young men who died in the fighting and some of which, she says, might have been, she says, husband Her 23-year-old daughter. Of course, they certainly have personal reasons for staying in Ukraine, but what binds them forever is their love for their country and not giving in to the enemy, to fight, each in their own way without taking up arms. .

We watched them, we watched them, we tried as much as possible to gather useful information for the Ukrainian army.

Although we can suspect that Svetlana might have taken something to defend herself at the beginning of the conflict. If only to defend themselves. In March, the Russians tried to launch a major attack on Mykolaiv. To do this, they have to pass through Luch, 900 inhabitants, at the gates of the wheat fields. A village like many in Ukraine, born from the Soviet era in 1952 during the Cold War. The only traces of this age, which will be significant in the following weeks, are the presence of three abandoned shelters, a refuge for teenagers in need of offending drinks. We are in March. The war began on February 22. When Russian troops pointed their guns, Svetlana, 54, an elected local official holding the post of post, decided not to get out of Hell. She is a woman of character, sharing in her decision twenty-six men who will try at all costs to inform their army in order to drive out these reckless invaders. We watched and watched them and tried as much as possible to gather useful information for the Ukrainian army so that it could bomb Russian positions. » The phone is still working, the group sends pictures and photos that way. It has succeeded. The Russians will hold out for two weeks before turning back.

Also read – The War in Ukraine: The Ordeal of Victims of Sexual Abuse by Russian Soldiers

buried in a cave

Today, Svetlana stands in this shelter, which can be reached by a steep and narrow stone staircase. “I’ve been here since day one.” She lives there with four other people including her husband and mother. The floor is carpeted, and there is a kitchen and sleeping area separated by a curtain. Even the kitchen table has been taken down and reassembled, as is a huge flat screen TV that is currently showing a horror movie au gratin. All of them live on the help of the army, volunteers from Mykolaiv or even the media that pass from time to time. There is no water or electricity, of course, and the generator runs moderately when the spirit of goodness gives them gas. No doubt leaving guests hungry. The smell of cake, a specialty of the two women, wafts into this small room, which has been carefully designed to make people forget the absurdity of their situation.

We must not leave Loach, there is no way to sell our country to those barbarians who took us to hell

To find oneself in one’s own country, hiding in a basement, for fear of enemy bombardment, for fear of death because of neighbors with whom, not so long ago, relations were polite. “I was born here, Strongly confirms Svetlana, Why am I leaving? We went from 900 to 90 and then barely 50 people. Not a single child left, go and see what state their school is in! And for two weeks, even the teens who stayed left. We must not leave Loach, there is no way to sell our country to those barbarians who have taken us to Hell. »

The sun is at its zenith. The outside light is blinding, Svetlana will benefit from it while providing the generator. Darkness invades their shelter, and TV monsters evaporate. Now they are outside with their artillery. Svetlana helped repel them once, and she intends to do it again.

Coming from Austria

peace. Svetlana in a dream. Olga preferred to flee from her. “I used to get crazy when I watch the news on TV, follow everything on social networks, I was angry and in a bad mood all the time, everything bothers me. Psychologically, I found it difficult to be outside the country.” So the 47-year-old anesthesiologist in the intensive care unit, married and living in Graz, Austria for seven years, took matters into her own hands. “I called the Ukrainian embassy in Vienna, but to no avail. Then I tried to reach the Ministry of Defense in Kyiv but it was always busy.” He is a friend who also works in the medical field and has dragged his stomach a lot in the hot spots of the planet, saving him the day. A phone call turns his life into a war that everyone flees. “I know it is very strange but when I got to Donbass I heard myself laughing for the first time in a long time.”

Therefore, she has been living since May 28 in Sloviansk, which has been fiercely bombed by the Russian armed forces since February. joined her ” the brothers “ Of the weapons (they were only two women and now the only one that still exists) in a volunteer organization based on the Ukrainian army, “Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital”, a team of about thirty people with two teams, one medical and one army. They are sent to the front to provide first aid to wounded soldiers who will then be evacuated to larger hospitals. Soldiers in the Donbass are paying a heavy price. So much so that last week, for the first time, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky officially admitted that the losses of soldiers on this front were enormous. “We are missing a lot of things, medicines, including blood thinners, of course, but vital equipment to save lives, Olga Suban continues. I’m even surprised there aren’t any more deaths.”.

I’ve gone from everything to nothing but I finally feel like I belong. There is no doubt that the Russians are allowed to take our country

Olga proudly shows the equipped yellow ambulance No. 11, which she helped to improve by passing prohibited equipment at the border. “I got luckyShe said, almost mischievously, They did not seek to search the car any further.”. There are monitors, a super probe and armchairs. There is something so delicate about Olga Suppen, her so soft voice, her smile, her make-up lips, her long black hair washed with unexpected care, it is easy to imagine her in another environment. She laughs. “Yes, I have gone from everything to nothing but I finally feel like I belong. This is where I have to be, to defend my country as best I can, with this medical knowledge. There is no doubt that the Russians will be allowed to take our country.” The speaker spits out the information. It’s been a week since we asked them to prepare their package to be ready to leave in a minute. Olga does not yet know where it will be redeployed. To leave would be a military defeat. But not only. Olga is afraid to return to the normal life she has not had for weeks. “We have to finish the job to get the Russians out of here for good.”

We have a lot of body bags.

And it was not planned to leave Olga Derogen, medical examiner and director of the Mykolaiv mortuary. Blonde and her hands displaying a flawless French manicure as authentic, this 51-year-old woman married to a traumatologist has never dealt with life since 2015, when she stayed at the establishment that smells strongly of death on this very hot day. Since the outbreak of the war in February, Olga Derogen says, We received the bodies of seven hundred soldiers and one hundred civilians. It’s only been three weeks since the daily death toll has gone down a bit.”. The office of this woman, who was born in Moscow but grew up in Chernev, is full of funds provided by international organizations. We have a lot of body bags.She said with an annoying separation. Chic and make-up, it’s a bit hard to imagine her looking into the entrails of the dead. She admits that for a long time she had no influence on her, except perhaps for all those soldiers, who are often young ones, whom she would one day have imagined.

We no longer jump at every pounding, we go to the office, we come home, we live a bit of a shrink but we live

She admits that she cried a lot in the early days of the war. “We got dizzy, and wondered what we could do.” But Olga isn’t the type to be soft indefinitely, she’s back on the morgue road and today everything about the struggle reflects her new normal. “We are not very sensitive to sirens, we no longer jump at every bombardment, we go to the office, we come home, we live a little in deflation but we live.”

However, she makes people jump when she talks about a vacation not so long ago in Odessa… “Yes, three weeks with my 15-year-old daughter. Breathe even if there was also, there was shelling but they were farther away. We saw a lot of people, we heard foreigners speaking another language, we felt like we were somewhere else. Odessa was looking at Our world before, for what the Russians stole from us.” Olga Derogen got up, she is tall and self-confident. I concluded: “We need to save our people and keep them alive.”

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