Ukrainian Sniper “Played” With Little Donetsk Girl for Half an Hour

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


Saturday, October 8th. It’s the morning. I browse through the military reports, and volunteer Andrey Lysenko calls me. It turns out he’s doing the same. “In the reports – my family. A direct hit. I’m going there,” he said.

Petrovsky district of Donetsk, the village Trudovskye. The “hottest” point in the vicinity of the city. There is also the airport, industrial zone, and Yasinovataya checkpoint, but there are no people living there. Here, in contrary, the settlement is fully populated. I think there is no need to mention the phrase that there is not a single house untouched. It has already become the visitor card of the frontline territories of Donbass…

40 Lyotchikov Street. Here an impoverished family lives, which has already been through and lost a lot during these terrible two and a half years.

Oksana is 24 years old. She has two little girls – four-year-old Nastya and a two-year old Sonya. Her mother and brother. Brother Andrey is 16. He is disabled since childhood.


Oksana, her mother, Nastya and Sonya

During the terrifying summer of 2014 the house in which the family was living was completely destroyed by a Ukrainian shell. In the place of the once neat and cosy home is now a ruin. Oksana recalls that at this time she barely managed to escape – everything was burning and collapsing on top of them. Fortunately, on that fateful day none of the family was seriously injured. They managed to save only a TV and some personal things.

The ruins of Oksana's house

The ruins of Oksana’s house

All the rest burned. The family didn’t have money in order to leave the village for a safer place. They had no relatives either. At this time, Oksana with her mother decided to move to live in the summer kitchen, located in the backyard. Yes – and here there is no living conditions. Yes, it is cold and scary. But they are still at home.

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That horrifying summer was memorable for Oksana by another chilling event. Little Nastya, which at the time was only two years old, was sculpting cakes in the sandbox. A Ukrainian sniper, entrenched on the hill a few hundred meters from the house, began to “play” with the child. Bullets crashed into the sand a meter away from the child. Nastya became frightened and began to scream loudly. Oksana rushed to her rescue. However, the monster did not let the mother to approach her child by shooting around her and her daughter with bullets from all sides. He didn’t kill, but was merely “playing”. This continued for about half an hour. All this time Nastya was hysterically screaming and crying. She had a nervous breakdown. Now the girl rarely lets go of her mother’s hand and clings to her constantly…


Then such “fun” became regular, Ukrainian snipers started to “play” also with adults, not letting them go outside, not allowing them to work in the allotment, to sit on a bench outside the house, to stand on the street with neighbors during the lulls in their heavy weapon usage. And then there was no peace, even in their own house – “liberators” started to hit the windows…

All this time the only family income was a pitiful allowance of 2,000 rubles, which Oksana receives for her daughters as a single mother, and also a pension for her brother’s disability. It is Andrey who helps to survive – he regularly brings food parcels, and helps with money. Oksana tried many times to get a job. However, to recruit a woman with two young children, and also living in Trudovskye, in the “red zone”, where transport does not always operate, employers are not in a hurry. She is obliged to get by on temporary jobs in the local market.

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During two years, the family who lost their house and all their belongings, down to their clothing, with two little children, lived in the summer kitchen. And this past night even this kitchen disappeared… Shelling started in the evening. Oksana says that there was not such shelling for a long time. Yes, Trudovskye is under fire every night, however, this past night, the Ukrainians literally escaped their chain: they were beating with artillery, mortars, and tanks. The walls of their flimsy shelter were shaking, the earth was rumbling under their feet. The family did not sleep all night. At 4 a.m. the roof of the summer kitchen was completely destroyed by a direct hit from a shell. Part of the property burnt out. Oksana keeps herself together, trying to appear strong, but in her eyes is the imprinted horror and a silent cry for help – where and how the family will live this winter is unclear. Now they have no roof over their head in the full sense of the term.


Summer kitchen after last night’s attack

Our dear readers! If you have at least a minimum opportunity to help this family, please help. Every kopeck is vital for these people. After a few weeks in Donetsk it will be very cold, and after winter arrives. Oksana wants very much to restore the roof before the cold weather, in order so that this winter her daughters, mother, and disabled brother can simply survive…

If you have the opportunity to help, contact Andrey Lysenko, he will tell you how to  better do it. His Vkontakte page. Phone: +38 (050) 474-85-33.

Help to survive.

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