“Now I’m all alone”

–It fell here. But didn’t break. But on the other side, the wall was full of holes. It was never as scary as then.
Valentina’s voice breaks, her eyes fill with tears. Her tale meanders–one moment she’s joking and waving her arms, the next her lips shake and tears pour in a stream. She speaks with such a strong Ukrainian accent I sometimes can’t follow.
She lives in Pervomaysk, LPR. She has diabetes and lip cancer. She’s also all alone.
We brought her aid and, before we even crossed the threshold, she ran across the house to show us the photos.

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Three years ago today Zhenya Ishchenko was killed

I heard many good and bad things about Givi, about Motorola. Contradictory reports, and I don’t know what to say, since it’s a question of whom you trust.
But I know one hero who is far less remembered than other fallen commanders.
I was fortunate to know him in person.
Zhenya Ishchenko.
Today is exactly three years since the day he was killed.
And I will reminisce about Zhenya every year on this day.
I will remember January 23 as my second birthday.

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Pervomaysk Under Fire

Tonight [December 13, 2017], from midnight until 3:30am, Pervomaysk came under fire from UAF heavy artillery.
16 locations suffered damage, including 14 houses and two public facilities, the Kalinovka hospital which we recently visited, and School No. 30.
There are wounded, so far no fatalities.
Video under the cut.
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Seryozha and Diana

Aaa! It’s you, my dearest! Come on in!
We barely entered and I was already being hugged and suffocated. The apartment is piled high with boxes, clothes, with the mysteriously smiling Diana among them, as well as the camera-avoiding Seryozha.
We didn’t know where to look. Elena Fyodorovna with her two grandkids, after February of ’15 was left without a home. Their stairwell in the apartment block on Makushkin St. in Pervomaysk was hit by a shell and collapsed. At that time they were in Russia. On July 28, 2014, Seryozha, Elena Fyodorovna’s grandson, was wounded and since then has been living with a shell fragment in his head. He was taken to Russia for treatment, which is when that one shell deprived them of everything they owned. Since then they’ve been living in an apartment temporarily provided by Olga Ishchenko, at that time the acting mayor of Pervomaysk.
The house was rebuilt last summer but we haven’t seen each other since that time and didn’t know where to find them. It turned out they were still in the old apartment, getting ready to move.
It’s been a year, and Seryozha is 14, but it seems he hasn’t changed at all. Still the same short, skinny kid with incredibly sad eyes. Hasn’t grown up at all…

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Shards of Death

On the photo is a shard from a shell that struck an apartment in Pervomaysk. It’s interesting that everyone has a different view on keeping what “flew in.” For example, Zhenya took all the fragments (and there were many of them in the garden and in the house) and threw them out. “No need to keep Death around the house.” Others collect them into neat piles. All these pieces of rusty iron. Yet others become superstitious and wish to forget about all that. Then there are people for whom parting with the shrapnel is like parting with a piece of their own body.
Some keep whole Grad “pipes.” We met many families in Novosvetlovka, Khryashchevatoye, Chernukhino, who out back have entire scrap yards of shell fragments that struck their homes. Many were hit many times. And you know, these people are more likely to keep than to throw out.
This fragment struck the apartment of the 96 year old Great Patriotic War veteran Nina Grigoryevna Mironenko.

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“Simply” Reunification

There has been a change of government in Lugansk. Kornet, Plotnitskiy.
I have nothing to say. Everyone is asking my opinion, but I am a little person, can I really influence anything?
But I will write about something that perhaps is not related to these events, but which bothers me personally. If there is a reunification, it would be a betrayal of the people of the Donbass.
Sometime ago I was told that “it will be better if they simply reunify, then it will all end.” You know, this is not even funny, because it’s obvious this reunification will not “simply” happen. Only on Facebook and on Ukraine Channel 1 things will be fine.
After three years of this, about every other family has ties to the Novorossia militia. Every other family has a “regime supporter”, people whom Kiev considers “criminal authorities”–officials, militia, firefighters, doctors, courts, village councils, utilities workers, etc. All of these people are working for the “regime” and from Kiev’s point of view they are “traitors” and are subject to being tried for “terrorism” and “separatism.” As do their relatives. Simple math–two thirds of the population would have to be arrested. Of course, they wouldn’t do that, that would be genocide, since, to the envy of Russia, Ukraine has become Europe. One has to save face, this is not Somalia after all. Therefore the “purification” will be more selective. A few public floggings, the rest will be taken care of behind the scenes. People will be disappeared and nobody will know anything about them. They don’t have Facebook accounts and therefore nobody will raise a stink.

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Hospice on the line of fire

It was quiet in Kalinovo. Even though today is the lottery.
The village is long–I’ve never seen anything like it–27 kilometers. From Pervomaysk to Bryanka. More than half-marathon. Except it’s impossible even hypothetically because shelling is a daily occurrence. It’s been like this for three years. We forgot, we can’t believe, it seems vague to us, we push it out of our thoughts. Even among LPR inhabitants there are those who don’t know what happens on the line of contact. The media don’t draw attention to it, and people simply stopped paying attention.
Kalinovo has its own hospice. That’s where we went.

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He just lay there

Gennadiy Vasilyevich became bedridden two years before the war. He stopped walking altogether. This is what happens to people with Parkinson’s. Motor skills gradually vanish, and the body forgets how to move. I have seen that in my family–the  individual moves less and less, and then completely stops. Then you spoon-feed him and turn him from side to side to prevent bed sores.
Gennadiy Vasilyevich lives in Pervomaysk, he has no relatives.
Or, rather, he does, but they live very, very far away.
And now imagine this is how the war found him. .

For Pervomaysk, the war until mid-’15 was constant hell.
Many forget about that. I do, too.
But then, in ’14, people live in bomb shelters and were hit by shells when going to the store, coming out of shelters to wash, to change clothes in their apartments. As soon as something distracted you, shells would come down around you. Hundreds of houses, of stairwells were wiped out.
Gennadiy Vasilyevich spent that whole time quietly laying in his apartment…The whole war, all these months.
His apartment had windows blown out, but that was normal. There isn’t a house in Pervomaysk that didn’t suffer in ’14. NOT A SINGLE HOUSE where I haven’t seen some damage.
The neighbors didn’t abandon him. They washed, fed, helped him…
He just lay there. And had no way of knowing whether his apartment would be hit or not.
So many tens of lives were carried away. Forever. Because they didn’t have the strength to make it to a bomb shelter. Because they were too old, because they were alone, because their legs couldn’t walk. No electricity, so no elevators, and many couldn’t even make it down two flights of stairs. How many such lonely elderly lived between heaven and earth?
Gennadiy Vasilyevich is still stuck to his bed. Social workers and neighbors are helping him survive.
May God grant them health.

Our humanitarian aid. Thanks to everyone who is pitching in!
The girl next to me is Olya, a social worker in Pervomaysk who is helping many people.
She also helps us help this city. Olya, thank you for everything1

If you want to help the people of the Donbass, please write me in person through LiveJournal, facebookV Kontakte, or email: littlehirosima@gmail.com. Paypal address: littlehirosima@gmail.com.

“Nobody needs us there”

Iosif Yuryevich has been disabled since childhood.
No family. No apartment. Or, already no apartment.
He’s from Pervomaysk. That same LPR Pervomaysk.
In August ’14 Yosif Yuryevich left for Kharkov.
He was in Ukraine until spring ’17.
Then he returned.
Returned to Pervomaysk, which is on the line of separation.
To the city on the very edges of continued fighting.

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