Weeks in the Basement, Food on the Fire, the Baby’s First Steps in the Bomb Shelter: Debaltsevo’s Schoolchildren About the Horrors of Ukrainian Occupation

Pupils of the 7-B class of Debaltsevo school. The stylistics and punctuation of the authors have been preserved.

“In June 2014, when all the disturbing events began, my mother and I left for Crimea, Evpatoriya. My dad lived there. We were hoping it would be over soon and we’d be back, but we had to stay a year. I went to school there. In the autumn of the same year we came briefly to Debaltsevo and witnessed the shelling of the city. My grandparents didn’t go anywhere and for the whole war hid in the basement of their house. I was very worried and afraid for them. When we got home, Grandma told me how scary it was. I want this to never happen again and that there’s peace.”

Egor, K.

“On July 24th 2014, the war broke out. Two shells landed on house No. 3: one – on the basement, the other – on the apartment. My family stayed in the bomb shelter for 5 days. On the 6th day we went to the Factory in another apartment. There until February 5th 2015 we sat in the basement. Then my family went to Ukraine in the city of Netishyn in the Khmelnitsky region and settled in the apartment of my grandmother’s brother. We were living off my grandmother’s pension. I went to school there. The kids gave me the old clothes that they didn’t get into anymore. When we found out the war was over, we went home on September 4th.”

Yuliya, K.

“In June 2014 heavy shelling of the city by Ukrainian troops using mortars and Grad started. My family was hiding in the basement. When the shelling intensified, we had to leave for Svetlodarsk for two weeks. When they started shooting less, we went back to our city. But the silence was very short. Again, heavy shelling started, it was very scary and we left for Soledar. We very much missed the city, grandmother, grandfather, who remained in Debaltsevo. And they returned home in April 2015.”

Danil, K.

“My family and I were in Crimea in 2014 before the war started. When our city had been captured, we had to go home. During all 6 months of occupation of our city we lived at home, we ran to the basement and bomb shelter. From January to February we didn’t leave the bomb shelter at all. My little brother learned to walk in the basement. Such is the story.”

Ekaterina, L.

“During the war, we were at home at first. The bombing was increasing, and our family was scared and it was dangerous to be at home. I was very frightened! We moved into the school basement. It was cold and dark, and scary when shells fell nearby. Eating was prepared on a fire that God would serve. I went upstairs rarely because we were constantly bombed. We lived in the basement until the liberation of our city of Debaltsevo. Then I, my brother and our grandmother, with the help of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, went to Fashchevka. My parents stayed in Debaltsevo to insert new windows. I missed them very much. That’s how I survived the war.”

Angelina, M.

Donbass Segodnya

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