“We are afraid, but our people are not going to give up”

I never thought that we would live a war. We were warned, but also confident that this moment would not occur in the XXI century. The day the Russians invaded us, a friend called me first thing in the morning to tell me that, on her way to work, near Chernobyl, he had seen two explosions in a field. I told him I would be maneuvering preparation of our army, but the war had already begun.

are the words of Anna Chernega, a 22-year-old Ukrainian woman who lives in Irpin, “about 30 kilometers from Kiev”, in a house with his grandparents. His testimony is from this Tuesday, March 1, in the morning, just a few hours before the Russian troops launched their brutal offensive on the Ukrainian capital.

“Now my sister Olena and her boyfriend are also with us. They lived in a flat until the invasion began. Then they had to come to our house because we have two basements and it is safer“says the young woman.

There, with food “for a long season and chickens, which we also have,” says Anna, the six take refuge with the hope “this will be over soon”. “We can’t go out, all the stores, banks and gas stations are closed. Today -for this Monday- there is only one pharmacy open in the city -of 90,000 inhabitants-“.

We don’t turn on any lights when it starts to get dark so we won’t be seenbecause it took us by surprise and we have nothing to cover the windows with. We could only put tape on three of them to avoid even shadows, but we ran out and we couldn’t cover the rest“, says the young woman who affirms that they have already gone down to the basement of her house out of fear.

The sound of explosions is constant. Two days ago -for this Sunday, February 27-, the russians wanted to occupy our city. There was a column of tanks from Bucha, 3 kilometers from here, to Irpin. They did not manage to enter, our military did not let them, but the streets and nearby houses were destroyed.“, says Anna from the Ukraine. “We are lucky because our people are ensuring that these despots do not enter our town“.

“Scared, but hopeful”

“We are afraid, but at the same time I feel that we are closer than ever and that gives us peace of mind“, explains the young Ukrainian. “Eight years ago, when the Dombas war took place, there was no preparation as there is now. The Russians have attacked us, yes, a very large country, but they are not going to destroy us. the ukrainians they take to the streets, stop the tanks with their own bodies and show that they are not afraidThey are not going to give up,” says Anna with conviction.

But it is precisely this fear that has made you consider leaving your country. “Perhaps I should, but living in Irpin is very risky. I would have to get to Kiev to catch a train that would allow me to cross the border and for that I would have to drive there. My brother-in-law could take me, but he doesn’t have enough gas.. My sister decided not to separate from his side, since he cannot move from Ukraine -because he is a man between 18 and 60 years old-. So,where do I go alone?”, asks the young woman. “My grandparents are 81 and 83 years old and they don’t want to leave their house, their life, either, says Anna.

“We try to take it in the best possible way, even smile, because we are sure that they will not beat us“, says Anna, although she shows her concern for her closest surroundings. “The people I know who live in the East are calmer, but I have a friend who lives in Ivankiv, between Chernobyl and Kiev, who has a six-month-old baby and her village is occupied by the Russians.. The last thing I know is that they were hiding in their basement without electricity, without gas and in great fear because the city is practically destroyed. At least they’re aliveAnna concludes.

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