220311151649 20220311 ukraine lviv stories group illustration super tease

For family members ravaged by battle in Ukraine, telephone messages convey hope and despair


Lviv, Ukraine – In the center of a day’s chaotic cross-country practice trip to the northwestern metropolis of Lviv, close to Ukraine’s border with Poland, a terrifying feeling struck the marina.

The 54-year-old carer, who managed to evacuate an orphanage in a besieged industrial city in jap Luhansk province, had no approach of returning to her household.

“And now I’m all alone,” Marina advised CNN on the shelter from a daycare middle in Lviv, the place she and the kids from her orphanage have been saved exterior. “I’ve left my (adult) kids in the orphanage to save the kids.”

CNN shouldn’t be disclosing Marina’s full title due to the danger to her household that has not been evacuated.

The breakdown of households underscore many tales of displacement in Ukraine, the place Russia’s violent efforts to wrest management of territory within the east, south and middle of the nation from Ukrainian authorities leveled the whole neighborhood,

Millions of persons are nonetheless trapped in besieged cities with no approach out. The institution of evacuation corridors from inaccessible city facilities is proving elusive as a consequence of frequent violations of the momentary ceasefire. Without protected passage, households are being torn aside.

Several individuals who spoke to CNN in latest days mentioned they’ve been unable to contact their family members for the reason that begin of the invasion. He described a frenzied exodus from the nation’s worst-hit cities, abandoning dad and mom, husband and spouse, siblings and grandparents.

Entire cities are lower off from the surface world, with energy and phone networks lower off by Russia’s assault. Many say they have no idea whether or not their family members are nonetheless alive.

Marina mentioned, “I don’t understand why the government didn’t try to get us out before the attack started. I don’t want to blame them. Still, I can’t help but think that my situation could have been avoided.” Was.”

Frantic attempt to reconnect with family

Once a tourist hotspot, Lviv is now a void for the nearly 200,000 displaced Ukrainians who have flooded the city in search of relative safety. Many theaters and schools that have been converted into temporary shelters are now covered with mattresses for displaced people. There is traffic jam on the roads. In almost every corner, people can be heard calling in tears to their loved ones living in the war-torn areas.

31-year-old Isabel Merkulova is a theater performer. These days she sits bewildered by her phone, consumed by thoughts of her best friend Anastasia Lisowska, who is stranded in Hostomel, north of Kyiv. The city has emerged as a major battleground in the war and has seen some of its most dramatic scenes – including a showdown at an airport and the assassination of its mayor.

Isabel Merkulova, right, and her best friend Anastasia Lisowska.

Anastasia trekked from the Ukrainian capital to Hostomel shortly after the Russian invasion began to persuade her uncle to flee. By the time he arrived, the Russian army had laid siege to the city. At that point, he talked about going to his uncle’s house as the bombs were raining. She also entertained thoughts of joining the Resistance. But fear quickly creeped in.

The dripfeed of Anastasia’s text messages illuminating Isabel’s phone – punctuated by silence inspired by power outages and telecommunications blackouts – reveals the terrifying uncertainty that ravages friends and family, who have no idea where they are. They may or may not see each other again.


Jesus, the power is out again. A fierce battle ensued.


we went back to our house [from the cellar], Isa, I’ve never been so scared in my entire life.


Nastya, give you my hug. The most important thing is that you are not injured. F**k, I can’t even imagine what you’re going through today, but trust me everything will be alright!!!


someone refilled [put money on] My mobile number and I am very grateful!


Here in Hostomel is the Moscow defense on the streets. I am scared. There is no tap water today. Tell Yulia and Olya about this Moscow military defense. Please!


I’ll tell them! are you injured? Nastya, are there any neighbors around?


There are almost no neighbors living here at this time. We are not injured at the moment, but are on the verge of collapse. If only we could read the news and know what’s happening around. Our cell phone battery is running out, there is no electricity and water right now. There’s a lot of shooting. it’s so difficult.


Nastya, please stay strong!

In a tearful interview with CNN, Isabel admitted that she felt less hopeful than she would have about reuniting with her friend of 15 years. She flips through photos from her theater tours in Europe and smiles through tears.

Isabel, left, and Anastasia pose in front of the German Bundestag in Berlin.

“It feels surreal that this was our life,” she said.

After more than two days of radio silence, Anastasia resurfaced with the news. By the candlelight of the bomb shelter, he and his neighbors had come to a decision. They would brave a 50-minute walk to a collection point for evacuation in the war-torn city. The government-organized evacuation corridor had failed the day before, but they were running out of food and water, and they had decided the risk was worth it.

“It was one thing like a film,” Isabel told CNN, as she elaborated on her best friend’s escape Thursday. The group had heard gunshots that morning, but still started the journey. During their trek, they encountered a car that was hitting the road and halted a ride to the collection site. The evacuation corridor was organized this time and Anastasia made it to Kyiv. However, his uncle was left behind.


Well, get in touch with people if you can! Bohdan told me that our armed forces are winning the battle near Hostomel! They are winning!


They are pushing the enemy back. But we are at the very center of it and it is so dangerous and so f**king scary!


I want to shout


I want it to stop.


I’ll try to take a nap now.


I love you all.


I understand it, Nastya! I can’t imagine how you all are feeling right now but everything will pass and we will meet soon and we will hug each other.


I don’t know… I’m so scared. Jesus, everything is so bad here. I’m worried


Please text Liuba that we don’t have electricity again.


Nastya, we’ll get you in on the way out of there!


I will definitely text Liuba.


please. We need to get out of here.


Nastia, the most important thing is to keep in touch!


Nastya, have you tried calling the numbers I gave you?

While some isolated families have managed to maintain some communication in the hodge-podge of besieged cities, many more are completely cut off from their loved ones. Irina Litvin, 31, from the eastern city of Volnovakha in Donetsk, did not speak to her parents and sister, who had been left behind for more than a week.

She frantically scrolls through local social media groups for signs of life. The day before Litwin’s interview with CNN, a neighbor texted her to say that despite heavy shelling in the city, her parents were alive and well. As far as her sister is concerned, she has no news.

“I do not know something about my sister. We final noticed her on February 27,” Litwin said. “Per week in the past, somebody noticed her sitting within the automobile along with her husband, however we have not spoken since then.”

Irina Litvin's mother - whose contacts are broken in a besieged city in Ukraine - tore the family apart with her grandchildren before the brutal invasion of Moscow.

“I suppose he did not get an opportunity to go,” she continued. “Otherwise we might have talked. Now all three telephones – her, her husband and my niece – are silent.”

Litvin fled a week after Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine. Volnovakha was almost completely destroyed in the first few days of the war. There was no electricity, gas or telecommunications when she left.

“We have been fully lower off from the world,” she said in a phone interview with CNN during a brief respite from sirens in the Dnipropetrovsk region, about 180 miles northwest of her hometown, and none of the main faults of the war. Kind. “We discovered ourselves beneath shelling within the open air. It was scary to say nothing. But there was no level in going again.”

Another native of Volnovakha, Pavlo Ashtokin, also described a Helter Skelter escape, driving his wife and daughter to safety amid the bombing. “For the primary few days after we obtained out, we misplaced the power to talk, the best way to suppose,” Ashtokin said. “No longer will there be a standard life.”

He said he left behind his 93-year-old grandmother, who survived World War II and has no way of reaching her. “I can solely hope that he has remembered his survival abilities from that battle, and that he’s together with his buddies,” he said. “But that is all I can actually do. There’s hope.”

‘Most efficiency ever’

Natalia Rybka-Parkhomenko awoke at daybreak on February 24 in her Lviv residence with a begin. “The battle has begun,” said his father over the phone from the eastern city of Kharkiv, which was one of the first to hit. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Blitz-Style Attack,

Her family quickly ditched whatever items they took in their car before realizing they didn’t have enough gas to make the trip. Like many Ukrainians, they were blinded by the rapid pace of the invasion, despite several weeks of warnings from the Western authorities.

That suspicion, reinforced by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the weeks before the invasion, has exacerbated the epidemic on the streets and at train stations. Now Ukrainians are in the midst of the unthinkable: they are being forcibly separated from those they hold dear.

Theater director Natalia Rybka-Parkhomenko says to keep the vigor in her shelter made of theater for IDPs "It has been the most important performance of his life."

“I did not know what a panic assault was like earlier than that morning,” said Rybka-Parkhomenko, an actress and director at the historic Les Kurbas Theater in Lviv. She walked the streets inexplicably, eventually deciding to convert her arthouse theater into a shelter for the displaced.

She shifted between turning the place into a reception point for displaced families and constantly checking her phone for messages from her parents and brother. The hardest part, she said, was trying to keep other people’s spirits up while she herself was plagued by anxiety.

“It was probably the most dramatic and necessary efficiency ever,” she said of the ordeal, her fingers elegantly interlaced as she spoke to CNN from the basement of the theater, filled with relief material for the displaced.

A few days later, the family of Rybka-Parkhomenko was able to find a safe route To Lviv with a volunteer support worker. The journey from Kharkiv to Lviv by road, which took 12 hours before the war, lasted two days.

Others in the theater-turned-shelter are less fortunate. Tamila Khelaadze shares a large mattress next to the stage with her two sisters and her one-year-old son, Denise. Her husband is staying in Kyiv to run her shop, as the three women plan to flee to Poland and then to Sweden.

He sent her a text message wishing her International Women’s Day, Khelaadze said on Tuesday, adding that her intact French manicure is the only visible remnant of her former life. “She mentioned ‘Honey, we’ll be collectively quickly.'”

“I hope to see him quickly, however I believe it will not be so quickly,” she said, her voice faltering between sobs. “Now we should go overseas as quickly as attainable. We should go for the kids. Only for him.”

This story has been up to date to appropriate the interval of the pre-war journey by highway from Kharkiv to Lviv.

CNN’s Sofia Harbuziuk contributed reporting. Illustration by CNN’s Will Muellery.


Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *