Conflicts & War

Older people resist in Ukraine village amid relentless Russian shelling

Shevchenkove, Ukraine, Apr 1 (EFE).- The thumping of explosions is edging closer and closer, but Mikhail Ivanovich does not flinch: “This is nothing,” the 80 year-old resident of Shevchenkove, a tiny village in southwestern Ukraine, tells Efe

Access to Shevchenkove is restricted and only military vehicles, buses with shattered windows and trucks take the road from Mykolaiv, which was recently recaptured by Ukrainian forces from the Russians.

Russian troops seized the area two weeks ago but the Ukrainian army has since been gaining ground, pushing Moscow forces 12 kilometers from the village near Kherson, the only provincial capital in Ukraine in Russian hands.

Mikhail’s wife left the village on Tuesday just as three missiles fell through their corrugated iron roof.

It is a miracle she was saved, the former truck driver tells Efe standing next to the ruins of his home.

He now lives in a small underground shelter in his garden with his trusty companion, his dog Vina

“We never separate,” he adds

While Mikhail shows Efe the house, the sound of shelling persists.

A town a few kilometers away is under attack.

Ukrainian artillery can be heard from behind, but Mikhail does not even consider leaving. He has nowhere to go, he says.

Two people were injured in Shevchenkove in Tuesday’s attacks, which was witnessed by Sasha, an engineer who was repairing a water pipe at the time of the strike.

Following the first shells, three people left their homes in a daze but a second attack left one man without a leg and another with serious injuries, he says, pointing to a pool of blood next to a slipper.

A few meters away, Daria, 65, opens the doors of the church, now filled with food and clothing.

She helps the priest take care of the building where neighbors go to collect food.

The night before, she recalls, they shelled the town for two hours.

“It was horrible. There are only retirees here, everyone has left,” she says.

Despite pressure from her daughter, Daria has decided to stay with her husband in Shevchenkove.

“I have my ancestors here,” she adds before charging against Russian “fascists” for their “lies” about Ukraine.

According to the Ukrainian military, the mayor of the town was kidnapped by invading Russian troops.

Two Shevchenkove residents, Andrei and Kolya, ran into Russian troops a few days ago at a roadblock.

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