Conflicts & War

Destruction prevails in Chernihiv after Russian siege

By Carles Grau Sivera

Chernihiv, Ukraine, Apr 19 (EFE).- Two large holes in the roof of Svitlana’s house in Chernihiv is just a small part of the destruction Russian troops left behind after their occupation of the ancient northern Ukrainian city.

Russia’s full-scale attack has left a trail of destruction along the city’s main road while Svitlana’s village, Oleksandrivka, was heavily pounded by rockets and artillery.

Svitlana and her family did not flee during the siege and had to hide in a small underground warehouse with no power, water, or gas; a nightmare that still prevails despite the Russian forces’ withdrawal two weeks ago.

Chernihiv was once just an industrial city of about 300,000 inhabitants, but since the invasion, it has become a strategic point for Russian troops in their objective to reach the capital Kyiv, as well as a scene of indiscriminate atrocities.

“I was born in a civilized city. We had electricity and water, but when all this started I only saw weapons, guns, artillery, missiles, houses on fire,” Svitlana’s 11-year-old son, Stepan, tells Efe.

“Our life has completely changed. We have been living underground,” he adds.

Svitlana inherited her grandmother’s house and used to lead a normal life until Russian troops were deployed in the woods across the street, forcing her to endure living in the dark in a basement for a whole month.

Like so many residents in the ravaged village of Oleksandrivka, Svitlana had to wait for silence to reign in to get water.

Day after day, she sneaked to the neighbor’s well to fill a bucket before she headed back to her house.

Meanwhile, Nina, an elderly woman from the neighborhood, runs up and down the street screaming and kicking the debris that gets in her way.

“Where to go? There are only ashes left!” Nina, whose daughter is still seriously injured after she sustained a shrapnel injury to the stomach, says.

“It’s like a horrible nightmare, I don’t believe this could happen. I don’t understand what happened. Why did the Russians invade our land? What is this war about?” she says.EFE


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