Severodonetsk is unusually quiet. The sounds of war can only be heard in the distance, from Lysichansk. However, this, of course, is no reason to relax. The enemy, as the military say, although driven out of the city, is still trying to “snarl” at a distance.
People are crowding near the entrance to the shelter. Some, waiting for the bus, which is supposed to take people from the industrial zone to the city, are already sitting “on their suitcases” in full readiness. Others fussily carry their meager belongings, miraculously survived, from the dungeons to the street. Despite the haggard look, people smile and even try to joke with each other and with the military.
I’m going down. The dungeon is dark and a little stuffy. After the exit has been opened, air enters there only naturally. There is no longer any need to force it manually.
– Do not shine in the eyes, we have already lost the habit of bright light, – a hunched old woman asks to turn off the camera flashes.
Between the densely set bunk beds, the people hastily pack their things.
– Where is my cat? – cries a girl of about eight years old, smearing tears over her dirty face. – I won’t go without a cat.
The mother is trying to calm the child, assuring that the tailed one, most likely, frightened by the fuss that had begun, hid, but would definitely return soon.
– Were there sleeping places or did you equip everything yourself? – I’m interested in a middle-aged woman.
– Sami. They brought something from the house when they ran here, something was already found here.
The beds are separated by rags or cellophane. Not God knows what, but still personal space.
In the depths of the basement, breathing becomes more difficult. The smell of dampness and unwashed bodies hits the nose.
– Do you want to see how we took water all this time? – a middle-aged man calls out to me in a work jacket with a stripe “Nitrogen” on the sleeve. As the interlocutor later said, he is an employee of the plant. During heavy shelling in March, he hid in a shelter with everyone. Then he simply could not leave, the Ukrainian military stopped letting people out.
Together with the guide we go into the room with the inscription “Well”. There is a gaping hole in the floor in the middle, next to it is a metal, cylinder-like bucket with a thick rope tied to it.
“There used to be a pump here,” the man explains. – I had to dismantle it because there is no electricity. Look in the middle of the bucket, there is a sledgehammer. This is what we did for weight.
– What is the depth here? – I’m interested, leaning over the well.
– Meters 12-15. There was no other way to get water.
A commanding male voice asks the rest to pack up faster. This is one of the soldiers providing evacuation. His request brings revival.
– How long have you been here? I ask a middle-aged woman standing next to me.
– Since March 27. I don’t even know what date it is today, – trying not to show excitement, the interlocutor smiles sadly.
According to Natalya, she came to the shelter on her own, together with her neighbors. The house where they hid earlier was bombed, and people had no choice but to look for a new shelter. We thought the plant would be quieter. Wrong.
– How did the Ukrainian military treat you?
“They didn’t really come down to us here. Once they came with a proposal to evacuate to the side of Ukraine, they even made a list of some kind. But so no one came for the people. Someone said that it’s already too late. The second time they came just to count us.
According to the woman, no one told people that a “green” corridor was organized on the side of the LPR, which the Ukrainian side thwarted.
Together with Natalia we rise to the surface.
The military help those gathered to load things into the “Ural”. Then everyone is asked to get on the bus.
– Do you have any water? the older woman asks, clutching a large plastic bag to her chest.
I bring a bottle of water from the car.
– Do you have to give it back? – as if with the hope of a negative answer, the woman asks.
– No, leave it to yourself.
“I buried my son Vitalka here,” she shares with tears in her eyes. “It was killed by shrapnel. I have him, you know what a handsome man he was. And what a good one! Didn’t leave me anywhere. We changed three shelters.
A woman wipes her tears with the sleeve of a jacket draped over her shoulders.
– We all cried, – a pensioner standing nearby intervenes in the conversation. – 39 years in total. They couldn’t do anything, he bled out.
The heartbroken mother said that one day Vitaly, along with other men, came out of the shelter to the surface just to breathe. Then even the Ukrainian military allowed people to rise from the dungeon at least for a short time. After a while there were explosions. The man had already been brought down with multiple wounds.
“Some of the guys ran to the military for help,” the woman cries. – They came, looked, said that they would now return with a doctor and be taken to the hospital. So no one else came. He was conscious until the very end. Here they were buried. And now how to find. Not even a mound. When will I find him? Dear son…
Source From: MK