Conflicts & War

Demydiv, the flooded village that saved Kyiv from Russian advance

By Luis Lidón

Demydiv, Ukraine, Jun 18 (EFE).- A flood is usually a tragedy with victims, but in the case of Demydiv, a village in the Kyiv region, it was a blessing.

A day after the Russian invasion began in late February, Ukrainian Armed Forces intentionally opened a dam that flooded Demydiv and its surrounding fields to hamper the advance of Russian armed vehicles into the capital.

“It was like Venice, sometimes we had to move around in boats,”a local resident of Demydiv, Volodymyr, tells Efe.

Although the waters have receded, many houses in this small town of some 4,000 inhabitants north of Kyiv still have flooded basements while fields are still submerged in water.

While the residents of Demydiv have had to live with a sea of stagnant water that made their lives very difficult, they are proud to have helped defend their country.

“I have a flooded yard, but Kyiv is still standing,” a local resident, Grigori, tells Efe while explaining that the water had reached his knees and that his cellar is still flooded.

Ukraine’s strategy to slow Russian advances, that in other cases involved blowing up bridges and roads, was smart but did not come without cost.

Infrastructure damage alone amounts to some 90 billion euros, according to a study by the Kyiv School of Economics.

“Our military did what it should have. The tanks would have reached Kyiv within an hour,” Grigori, who lost part of his harvest in the flood, says.

“They (the government) promised us aid but I guess they have more urgent things now,” he adds.

The flood, that sourced from the Irpin River, created a wall of water north of Kyiv and some say was instrumental in defending Ukraine’s capital.

“We were lucky because they only killed 10 people, it was not like in Bucha or other places. We heard shots and saw the bodies,” tells Grigori.

Although some residents complain about the slow cleanup and lack of drinking water, neighbors have come together and some farmers have given part of their land to those who have lost their orchards to the flood.

From time to time, a large engine comes to Demydiv to pump water across a sand dam that protects the village from a lake that was created by the opening of the dam.

“This is months of work,” Yuri Koshchenko, a municipal worker, says.

Yuri uses a pump that drains 400 liters of water per minute but water continues to seep from below, he says.

“Russian soldiers came here and said that in a couple of days they would take Kyiv and then Russia would rebuild everything,” Nadia, a local resident, tells Efe.

“I was telling them, it wouldn’t be necessary to rebuild if you would leave our country alone and not destroy it. Look what you’ve done,” she says as she looks at the flooded landscape. EFE


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