The massive attacks of the Russian invaders against the civilian population of Ukraine do not distinguish between enemies and kindred, between Ukrainian and Russian speakers.
Unable to conquer Chernihiv, the Russians decided to raze it to the ground.
Last night, Anatolii Shara told Euromaidan Press what he saw in the village of Kyinka, located on the outskirts of the city of Chernihiv, a city in northern Ukraine, located 71 kilometers east of Chernobyl. The Russians tried to take it, without success. Failing to conquer it, the Russians decided to raze it to the ground, ruthlessly attacking the civilian population: "The streets of once charming Chernihiv are now full of destroyed buildings and makeshift graves of its residents," Anatolii writes.
The house of some Putin admirers, bombed by the Russians
Arriving at a Ukrainian checkpoint near the town, the soldiers suggested that the journalist go to the village of Kyinka, very close to the checkpoint. He asked them why he should visit it and one of them replied: "There you will see karmic law in action." Anatolii writes: "After passing around 300 meters along the village street, we saw a real apocalyptic scene: obliterated houses and huge craters. The last time when I experienced such a mixture of confusion and rejection of reality was in Borodianka. I wandered into the bombarded yard. The scale of destruction struck me. There I saw a couple, who was rummaging through the remains of the destroyed house. I came closer and said hello. It turned out that these people were the owners of the house or to be more precise - what was left of it."
Anatolii asked them what happened, and the man replied in Russian: "What happened? Don’t you see? Their bombs destroyed everything!" The journalist asked them who had done it, and then the man's wife replied: "Our brethren. Russians. The plane was flying low and dropped bombs. I saw it myself."
"This couple went to visit their neighbors a few houses away. There was no sign of trouble. Everything was calm. And suddenly a Russian plane showed up, flew low over the village, and dropped two bombs, that actually destroyed their house", explains Anatolii. The owner of the house explained:
"You know. We are Russians by passport, by spirit. I am from Arkhangelsk, she is from Vladivostok. We have always trusted Putin. When he announced the beginning of the special operation against the Nazis and thieves in Ukraine, we were so relieved… We were waiting for them… Russian soldiers. Since there have been so many of these Nazis in Ukraine."
Seeing Nazis where there are none
Anatolii comments: "I was bewildered, because it sounded like typical Russian propaganda drivel, but managed to come up with a logical question." The journalist asked them: "Did you see these Nazis in real life?" The woman took her husband by the hand, and whispered: "I beg you, don’t say another word. They will kill you", but the man let go of his wife's hand and commented: "Of course, I saw them."
The man described the alleged Nazis by saying that they "speak Ukrainian, wear vyshyvankas" (Ukrainian traditionally decorated shirts) "and shout Nazi slogans like 'Slava Ukrayini'" (Glory to Ukraine, an expression used by Ukrainians of different ideologies ). In other words, that man saw Nazis where there were none. "You know, we all were coming from the Soviet Union, we were all like family: Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians… But these 'banderivtsi…'", the man said. The journalist decided to ask: "So who bombed your house?" The man hesitated and answered in a low voice: "Russians. I saw it myself."
He hates the Ukrainian soldiers, but asks them for food
Faced with this answer, Anatolii asked: "So what it has to do with banderivtsi?" The angry man dropped the shovel, started cursing and left. Then the journalist asked the wife: "Don't you see the correlation between the terms 'Putin' - 'war' - 'your bombed house'?" The woman looked at him in silence. The journalist left the bombed-out courtyard and found a man from the neighboring house approaching him. "Was he telling you the old story about banderivtsi?" Anatolii nodded. The neighbor added:
"All his life after he moved to Ukraine from Russia, having earned money at gold mines, he hated Ukraine. On Ukraine’s Independence Day he displays his Soviet flag and blasts Soviet music. We asked him why he moved here and he replied that he likes the local climate. The rest didn't matter for him. However, now everything he owned was destroyed by his own brothers – the Russians!"
Later, in the center of Chernihiv, Anatolii met two 18-year-olds, Serhii and Nastia, who came from the village of Kyinka. Serhii asked if he had seen a destroyed house near the checkpoint. The journalist nodded, and the young man added in Russian: "I wonder what this guy expected. It was his brothers-Russians, who did this. The old man is a true separatist and not hiding it. Everybody in the village knows him. At the same time, just so you know, he fiercely hates Ukrainian soldiers, but still keeps coming to them for food. And they help him nevertheless. That is the difference between Ukrainians and Russians."
A building attacked when civilians were receiving humanitarian aid next to it
Anatolii comments: "A few minutes later we neared a skyscraper, or what was left of it, to be precise. On 3 March, Russian aircraft dropped bombs on this building. Serhii told us what exactly happened. Right when the Russian plane dropped bombs, local people were receiving humanitarian aid at a pharmacy next to the building. People were simply waiting in line when bombs fell on them. Many people died."
The journalist adds: "We left Chernihiv with a heavy heart. Russians had tried to destroy this beautiful and ancient Ukrainian city. Fortunately, the Ukrainian military did its best to defend it. Now the city has been gradually returning to a normal life. But, according to Ukraine’s State Border Service, just on the 20th of May, the Russian army shelled the border areas of Chernihiv from over the state border with 120mm mortars."
Photo: Anatolii Shara / Euromaidan Press. The house of Putin's admirers, destroyed after being attacked by a Russian plane.
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