The UAF Shelled the Home of a 77-Year-Old Grandmother in Krutaya Balka

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


In the settlement the Krutaya Balka in the Spartak village administration 2 houses burned down as a result of UAF shelling. A 77-year-old home owner survived by a miracle. From all the property that the pensioner had, only documents remain. The remaining inhabitants already got used to the Ukrainian military regularly opening fire at the settlement. They come to their allotment cautiously. We [the camera crew – ed] weren’t allowed to go there: sun reflections on the lens can become a fine target for a sniper. They shoot both in the afternoon and at night. Only 1 of 4 streets remains intact, but even there 15 houses have been damaged.

“It was already just past midnight, I slept. I heard some rustling. It seemed like crackling. I jumped up, went to the yard, and looked – slate had crumbled directly in the yard,” remembers Nina Gorban. “I came back and ran at once to take my documents. I took the documents and jumped out barefoot and undressed. And I was left without housing, without clothes, without footwear. I don’t know what I should do, how should I live and where…”

Fire had almost instantly engulfed the entire construction. There was no way it could be independently extinguished. And the fire-fighting brigades wasn’t able to reach the settlement.

“The shelling continued during the whole night. The Ministry of Emergency Situations of the DPR wasn’t able to come here to extinguish the fires,” said the chief of the control center of the  DPR Joint Center for Control and Coordination of the ceasefire (JCCC) Aleksey Lukyanchenko. “Our side of the JCCC went to the Ukrainian side and requested a regime of silence so that the team of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the DPR could extinguish fires. The silence regime was provided and observed, the team of the Ministry of Emergency Situations arrived and put out the fire and the centers of ignition in this house.”

Of course, Nina Gorban won’t be left alone. She, like the other residents of the settlement who were left without housing, will be given support by the city administration of Yasinovataya.

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“There is a plan to offer resettlement at the point of temporary stay – the hostel in the city of Yasinovataya,” said the acting head of the Spartak village administration Marina Aseeva. “The grandmother already filled out an application and this case is already being considered. I am more than sure that it will be solved positively, i.e. our babushka will have a roof over her head.”

During military operations in the settlement four have been wounded and one woman was killed. Now only 22 persons live here  – all of them are elderly people. There is no light nor water – the water supply system was destroyed in 2016. The only shop that existed was closed down. Free bread is delivered to them once every week – 2 loaves per person. Locals say that the situation in the settlement is very difficult and anxiety inducing.

“We can’t even fall asleep normally – we are afraid. Especially after this fire – it was terrible in general,” said the female resident of the settlement Anastasia Vorovskaya. “And the most important thing is that they start to shell at 8am on the street. Shelling lands directly on the street, it is heard directly down the street. We don’t even bother to hide anywhere, because it can land while you are running from the house to the basement, and you can fall under shrapnel. So where can one hide…”

But despite such a situation, it is impossible to persuade the elderly people to move to a quieter place. Nobody wants to leave their houses. Being in the crosshairs of the Ukrainian military, the residents work in their allotments, use water from wells, and at sunset they try to go to sleep. And they also hope that this year, just like last year, they will receive humanitarian aid in the form of coal, so they can heat themselves in the winter.

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