“They shot us for fun while we were wheeling the bodies.” Residents of Zahidne remember the Russian occupation

Complete chaos and shields of life

We were for the Russians Living armor – In an interview with PAP they recalled the events of 12 months ago. We fear attacks by our soldiers The aggressor was hiding behind the backs of the public – They talk about the tragedy that began in early March 2022 for 350 villagers.

Zahidne is a quiet village near the forest on the Kiev-Chernihiv road. White houses with blue shutters peek out from behind wooden fences. A year ago, they were hit by missiles from the Russians trying to encircle Chernihiv, which was defended by the Ukrainians. Unable to capture the town, the invaders captured the village and drove the people at gunpoint to the basement of the school where they were headquartered.

When the Russians entered, complete chaos ensued. They started shooting people and attacking buildings with tanks. They took us out of the house cellar where we were hiding and brought us to the school. They made us human shields to keep our people from attacking them

– says school keeper Ivan.

A sixty-year-old man walks into the basement of a school where someone has clumsily scrawled the word “Kids” in red paint on the door. “People were sitting one on top of the other on this corridor. No place to sleep. Here in this room, there were 22 people, five children and adults– shows a cell with an area of ​​several square meters.

The school was trapped in the basement

There are children’s drawings on the walls and a calendar written in pen on the plaster. Next to that are first names and surnames. “We made a calendar because we did not know whether it was Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Sometimes you don’t know whether it’s day or night. We also wrote who sat here and who died,” he says.

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The imprisoned Yahitne people had no toilets, so the Russians provided them with buckets. They took care of their physical needs in the presence of all the inmates. Most of the people were sitting on the concrete floor. Often next to the corpses, residents do not allow them to be taken outside.

when People diedWe put them in the boiler room and then asked the Russians for permission to take the bodies to the cemetery. We drove in wheelbarrows and they shot at us for funSo we ran away. Eventually, however, it was necessary to return to burying them so that the dogs would not eat them

– Ivan agrees.

Thirty-year-old Victoria ended up in the basement with her three children, her husband and her parents. The eldest child is 11 years old, the middle child is nine years old, and the youngest child is one year and two months old.

“The Russians initially gave us their rations, but we had no way to heat them. The youngest daughter was awake screaming for milk. Finally they allowed my mother to go home to milk the cow. Fortunately, she survived because they killed all the cows in the village,” she recalled. pointed out.

Russian soldiers stayed on the upper floors of the school, where fragments of their uniforms, broken jars and bottles and food blankets emblazoned with a five-pointed star remain to this day. When they went to the cellar, the prisoners were told that there was no Ukraine anymore, there were no neighboring villages, they had destroyed Chernihiv and Kiev. They were often drunk.

A drunken soldier came, as they say, thirsty. He stuck with one girl, then another. I pushed him and it started raining and I didn’t have time to push the baby or he would have fallen on his head. We were scared,” Victoria admitted.

People were upset because we were being let out every two days. I lay down on the floor Someone was looking for a toilet and couldn’t find one, so they pooped on my head. Screams and screams arose from the lack of oxygen

He adds.

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Pack like sardines

There is no ventilation in earthen basements Mrs. Caterina also remembers passing by the school. A woman in her seventies struggles to share her memories of last March.

What kind of conditions can we talk about when keeping almost 400 people in 150 square meters! What are the conditions, people are dying here who are taken from their homes on stretchers because there were children next door. Then they took them away on these stretchers The dead were covered with chlorine. We were suffocating there, the little kids were suffocating! He almost screams.

Mykola Klimczuk is the only PAP interlocutor to introduce herself by name. He recalled that he developed bed sores while sitting in the basement for about a month. The room he sat in was 76 square meters.

“76 meters and 138 people. I had half a meter. I was sitting on a bench. When one lies sick, he gets sores. I had butt beds. You sit for 25 days. You sit at night and sit during the day. “There was a gymnastic ladder behind me, and I tied myself with a scarf so as not to fall” – he says.

The man believes that the way the Russians treated him and the other villagers angered him You cannot call them people

I don’t consider them human, they are some other species. My cousin’s husband was shot dead on his own doorstep. He stayed there for 15 days. Then they buried him in the garden, but they cut the grave. Only then was he exhumed and given a simple burial

– says.

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Do you forget? Excuse me? Contempt?

After the events of March last year, residents of Zahidne are struggling to return to normal life. The children did not return to the school where they were accommodated. Victoria’s two elder children study in a neighboring village. Asked what she wished for her tormentors, the young woman replied that time heals all wounds.

Maybe I’m too nice, but I want them to enjoy what we have. But I don’t want this to happen to their own children

– Reserves.

“It’s been a while. Before, I felt hatred towards Russians, or contempt. They don’t act like people. Not only did they carry all the things in the house, but they also did their business there. They called us dull lattes and they said Putin would teach us how to live. They hated us so much. Yes, I hate them now” – Mrs. Katerina agrees.

Russian troops left Yahitne on March 31, 2022. Remembering the events, Evan, the school janitor, secretly wipes away tears. “We will clean, clean and repair the damaged school. A museum should be set up in it, so that our children… can see that people who have not seen it are here,” he says in a broken voice.

Source: niezalezna.pl, PAP

#Russian occupation #Ukraine #Russia #War in #Ukraine

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