Conflicts & War

Death and destruction in Kharkiv as war rumbles on nearby

Kharkiv, Ukraine, May 26 (EFE).- Galina Chorna is one of the few residents of Northern Saltivka, in eastern Kharkiv, who endured the bloody battle of Ukraine’s second-largest city. She now lives in a desolate building in ruins as the war rumbles on nearby.

The 75 year old gets tearful as she recounts the horrors of the Russian siege, while she stands at the entrance of the building on an empty street.


Chorna witnessed the Russian occupation from her home in a block of flats the government gave her almost 40 years ago during the Soviet era.

She did not believe that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, would start the war, she tells Efe.

She never went down to the shelter, partly due to mobility issues but also because she thought it unlikely her first floor flat would be struck by a missile.

Most of Chorna’s family has passed away, including her husband and daughter, who died young.

Her grandson, Bohdan, brings her food and medicine regularly, she says.

When he was absent for a week, she alerted the police. Bohdan had been hurled to the ground by the blastwave of an explosion and a woman died next to him.


Chorna cannot fix her damaged home, where she says seven people died, and she feels cold at night.

Many buildings in the sleeper town are devoid of facades, have caved in roofs and shattered windows.

The mayor of Kharkiv, Ihor Terekhov, has warned that a new neighborhood will have to be built. The damage is still being assessed, but authorities have said hundreds of homes and buildings in the city have been decimated.

Elena Yroslavna’s house is a write-off. Everything has been damaged: the windows, walls and floors. The 50-year-old lived with her mother, husband, daughter and granddaughter on the seventh floor.

Her daughter and her granddaughter fled to Poland, and the rest of the family sheltered for two weeks in the Kharkiv region.

When the couple returned, they were met by the wreckage. And although Yroslavna has requested state aid, she tells Efe she doubts they will get any and adds that no one has gone to assess the damage.

As she shows Efe around, several nearby blasts rock the complex and a plume of smoke floats through the sky where a window once stood.


The governor of the Kharkiv region, Oleh Synyehubov, tells Efe that the front line is nearby after Ukrainian forces blocked the Russians from entering the city through Saltivka in mid-May.

Synyehubov says that the explosions in the combat zone continue to shake neighborhoods on the fringes of the city.

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