By Štěpánka Ulčová
IT’S BEEN 131 days since Russia attacked Ukraine – a free, independent, democratic country.
Many Ukrainians have witnessed literal hell on earth.
Numerous areas remain occupied – including Kherson Oblast where a Ukrainian girl called Karina* still lives.
Along with one million other citizens, she continues to struggle daily ever since Putin’s army occupied the city on March 2.
The situation there is precarious, she tells Redaction Report, as the occupants are determined to completely erase everything attached to the name of Ukraine and eventually ask Putin to annexe this region.
Yet Ukrainians are still bravely fighting to the last man and woman to get their city back. Forces have launched offensive actions in the region, causing Russia to suffer heavy losses – to Karina, this clearly shows the world that their love for Ukraine is stronger than Russia’s genocidal acts.
“Well, I can say that we do not want to be Russia,” Karina tells this outlet. “We love our country very much. None of the inhabitants of Kherson wants to be Russia and no one supports the Russian government.”
The Kherson region is overflowing with cases of rape. Numerous children were raped and some even died due to the injuries that the Russians had caused them.
Karina, thankfully, wasn’t violated by the occupants in any way but she notes that even in her city, Russians raped around 20 victims.
The war crimes that Russia commits don´t end here though. Russians have been terrorizing civilians or even kidnapping Ukrainian activists that manage to riot against the Russians, Karina says.
“They break into houses, check mostly men and rob our shops. They calmly move around our city. I even saw a couple of their cars from my window.”
The world has now seen the horrific situation in Mariupol.
Many residents are dying of hunger and don´t have access to drinkable water. Kherson is better off, though some cities in the region have been running low on food and medical supplies too. The shops are mostly closed because the occupants don´t let the trucks with deliveries through, Karina laments, but at the moment people in her city still have enough food in stock and drinkable water remains accessible.
According to Karina, Russians offer Ukrainians food too – but it isn’t necessarily out of goodwill.
She says: “There were cases when people got poisoned by their products – 3 people died due to expired product, and found internal explosive devices in food.
“They also started to distribute humanitarian aid which they later show on their propagandistic media to demonstrate how good they are and how they help the Ukrainian people.”
All this time that this outlet was texting with Karina, she told us multiple times how she hears explosions throughout the day
She told Redaction Report: “I don’t know how safe we are because we don’t have bomb shelters.”
At one point, she didn´t respond to us for a while. It turned out that the Russian invaders cut Kherson off all Ukrainian communications so it was very difficult for her to reach out to us again. When she came back online, she said: “We had a bad internet because the Russians cut us off from the Ukrainian connection and we didn’t have internet for more than a week,”
But despite the struggle, Karina is confidently waiting for the liberation of Kherson. “ZSU [Ukraine armed forces] is already 12 kilometres from Kherson and we really believe in them and are waiting!
“We will wait as long as necessary.
*The interviewee’s name has been changed to protect their identity.
Štěpánka Ulčová is a student from the Czech Republic.
Featured Image: Ukraine Ministry of Defence @ Flickr
Subscribe to stay updated, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
You can also keep up with our video content on YouTube.
Redaction cannot survive without your help. Support us for as little as $1 a month on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/RedactionPolitics.
One thought on “Life under Russian occupation – how are Ukrainians faring after four brutal months of Putin’s aggression?”