War is shit brought to Ukraine by the terrorist state of the ruzzia. Closer to the front lines death and destruction are all around you and there is a high probability of getting murdered by ruzzian cockroach orc invaders. It’s hard to imagine bombs, rockets, mines and artillery shells exploding, blasting and tearing apart everything you knew and held dear.
Most people from towns and villages close to occupied territories left already. Younger, more active and intelligent folks fled Lugansk and Donetsk regions years ago. In towns like Chasiv Yar less than five percent of the population remain – some live in basements to be safer, others stay in their flats waiting for a direct hit; none have electricity, gas or running water. There is still a little shop open on the westernmost street of the town, because buildings there get hit a bit less. The prices are insane – three to ten times higher than anywhere else. The customers are mostly Ukrainian soldiers. The locals rely on humanitarian aid that’s delivered by volunteers to a couple community centers where they go to charge their phones and get food, water, clothing.
Recently I was in Chasiv Yar bringing some humanitarian aid and convincing people to evacuate… I was right next to this community center (aka. Point of Invincibility; Ukr: Пункт незламності) trying to convince more people to leave when a series of S-300 missiles started hitting the town. We all could hear the first impact a few kilometers away, the second and third much closer, and the fourth explosion happened just two blocks away so the ground was shaking and I felt the reverberation in my guts. The nearest impact completely wiped out a school building, by the way.
Right after this I (K) approached a local woman (W) in her fifties…
K: “This missile barely missed us.”
W: “Yes, we’re lucky this time.”
K: “I can bring you and anything you want to take with you out of here, we’ve got places to stay in safe locations. This way you’ll remain lucky for sure.”
W: “Nah, I’ll stay here. I’m home.”
K: “But… these shellings… daily, just like now. The next rocket may destroy your home and kill you.”
W: “That’s ok. I’m used to it.”
I smiled – she thought she was invincible but she isn’t – playing ruzzian roulette. The degree of fatalism is outstanding. Maybe she’s dead by now and actually happy about that.
That time around I’ve evacuated a woman from Chasiv Yar, whose apartment got hit directly by an artillery shell a few days ago. An explosion right in the living room quickly changed her mind about staying and freed her from too many belongings to take with her…
In general it’s a bad idea for the locals to stay in places that are getting shelled constantly. City type folks that live in apartment buildings are the worst case, because they’ll just die without humanitarian aid, because they haven’t grown their own food and didn’t stock up on supplies enough, they have nowhere to get water and during winter it’s going to be freezing in their flats that used to rely on centralized heating. Rural people are a different story, they’re rather independent except for electricity in most cases – but that doesn’t cancel the ruzzian bomb factor. The ruzzian cockroach-orc horde has already completely destroyed dozens, perhaps hundreds of towns and villages in Ukraine. And it should be considered a crime to stay there (especially with kids) in the war zone, when there’s a simple, free possibility to evacuate and get free housing, get money and get assistance finding a job.
Volunteers end up risking their lives to support these people. I spent a couple weeks in August living with volunteers of Road to Relief in Slovyansk and working as a driver and translator along the front lines providing medical aid to locals and convincing them to leave for safer places. And yes, there are still children there. Obviously those people are risking their own lives by staying there, but they also make maneuvers of Ukrainian forces more difficult because our fighters have to consider that civilians are still around when picking positions. Plus when any civilian gets hurt – they’re being treated by military medics, which shifts the focus from fighting the enemy to helping someone that shouldn’t be there in the first place. And some volunteers like Emma Igual and Tonko Ihnat of Road to Relief got killed while helping these people survive.
In conclusion I can say that supplying remaining civilians in besieged towns and villages with humanitarian aid may seem very humane, but is counterproductive. It gives these people a false impression of safety and security while endangering way too many people. But, evacuating civilians from the front lines is absolutely necessary and not even for the sake of their own well being and survival… Civilians are an obstacle for the Ukrainian army and serve as a living shield for the ruzzians. Some of the local civilians are very much zombified by ruzzian propaganda and actively help the enemy. Thus evacuations should be obligatory, timely and done by force if necessary.