“I wish a peaceful future for my children.“ Ukrainian refugees were hiding in their basement for a month

Published: Mar 21, 2015 Reading time: 3 minutes
“I wish a peaceful future for my children.“ Ukrainian refugees were hiding in their basement for a month

Sergey (35), Lyubov (34) and their son Kyril (13) used to live in the city of Pervomaisk in Eastern Ukraine. Lyubov was a teacher in local primary school and Sergey worked as a miner. The peaceful city was suddenly hit by fighting between the pro-russian separatists and Ukrainian army. Tanks were positioned in the streets and bullets flew everywhere.

“We were living in our basement together with my parents for a month, but then we had to leave, because my wife was going to give birth to our daughter in two months,” says Sergey. Their daughter Masha in alright, she is four months old now and she lives together with her parents in Hirske, the last city before the frontline. Pervomaisk is only 15 km away, but it is controlled by the separatists.

The family has received the first financial aid from our Ukranian team a few weeks ago and now,  they are applying for another grant.

Do you remember how the fighting in Pervomaisk started?

It began with small arms fire, then came the tanks and airplanes. I saw the planes and rockets, then the tanks from the balcony of our apartment.

When did you decide to leave the city?

We spent the first month together with my parents in a basement in Pervomaisk. We left at the end of August, because my wife was going to give birth in two months.

How did you manage to leave?

My brother-in-law took us to Hirske in his car and then return to care for the parents in Pervomaisk. We have left on August 23rd.

How did you find the house where you live now?

We were lucky. Friends of my parents have let us stay here. They live in the next street.

How long can your stay here?

We can stay here until the end of May, because another family lives here in the summer. We also want to leave because there is still some shooting around the city and we are afraid. And there is no medical care for my daughter here.

Where will you go in May?

We can go to Lysychansk or Rubizne, because there are mines and I can look for work there. But we cannot leave right away because it is too cold. The weather will be better in May.

Can you return to Pervomaisk?

How can we go back? The bombardment has left a big hole in the wall of our apartment, the roof is also damaged. It is dangerous there.

How did you find out about the aid provided by People in Need?

At the town hall. We had to register as refugees with the local authorities at the end of December. So they gave us contact number for People in Need.

How did you spent the first donation from People in Need?

We bought medicaments, clothes and other things for little Masha. We also bought some food like potatoes and onions.

If you get another donation, how will you spend it?

We need to pay services like water and electricity. We also want to buy new shoes for our little girl. I hope that we will find some decent accommodation in Lysychansk.

What is you biggest wish right now?

I want peace. Just peace. So our children can grow up in a normal way.

Author: Petr Štefan