It’s when everything you believed in and worked on has been forcibly taken from you—the homeland, job, house, and relatives.
They impose their own discretion while saying that they came to save us.
It’s when 20 years old boys say that only in the USSR local citizens of Berdyansk were happy to see russians (but how could they know this?)
Until 2014 russians were guests in this region, they used to live among “nazis,” used to eat “nazi” products, and used to say how they love to get some rest near the Sea of Azov.
Today no one gets rest by the Sea of Azov, and russians are no longer welcome here. They came to grab everything that people have been working for their whole lives and to take away the most valuable one—their motherland.
What does life under occupation look like? There were 10 explosions in Berdyansk harbor since occupants are doing demining activities.
This popular touristic town and hundreds of hotels- which took around one million tourists every year—are currently in the darkness of russian occupation.
There are no jobs in the area, and most people left the town.
My family decided to stay, but not because they support occupants.
They have elderly parents, friends, animals, and properties. Entrepreneurs have to re-register and pay taxes to the occupation authorities to keep earning some money for existence. They regularly check who is not registered yet, impose fines, or confiscate a business.
The villagers in this area are scared and forced to cooperate since occupants confiscate their equipment and lands in case of rejection. russian troops kicked off the local administration in the first days of occupation and settled there.
After some time, occupants closed the humanitarian center, which was created by the citizens of Berdyansk to help refugees from Mariupol. They’ve never acted like human beings. The city was flooded with armed soldiers in helmets who freely walked on our streets. Instead of cars, military vehicles were riding around the city.
We were attending peaceful protests and were screaming: “Berdyansk—in Ukraine!!!”
With each subsequent demonstration, more and more soldiers were in the city center; around the protesters were russian military vehicles—APC (armored personnel carriers) with Z letters. Later on, they started to steal activists, disperse protests, and beat people. In occupied territories, russians destroy everything that belongs to Ukraine and Ukrainian culture and replace it with russian culture.
They tore Ukrainian flags, removed our symbols, occupied radio stations, and played music from the USSR times.
They make people afraid of expressing their position; now, it’s dangerous since they can come after you if you do so. But, the most terrifying is the obscurity and understanding that your life doesn’t belong to you anymore, there are no police, chaos, and a russian regime takes place.
They frisk people on the streets, check their phones, undress people in broad daylight and inspect their tattoos. There is no calmness anymore.
Enemy’s planes and helicopters are flying right over your head. You understand that their goal is to kill your own nation in other territories of your country.
It’s extremely hard to get out of a town, and they make it even more difficult to escape. Currently, people are waiting for several days at the borders to reach territories that are under the control of Ukraine.
In the first few days, we bought some food since everyone said that no one gonna replenish the supplies. And this is the truth of what happened.
russians cut off all possible ways of shipping foods and medicines. They were stealing Ukrainian products and were pretending that it was their humanitarian support for us.
russians were recording news for their television, where they showed a beautiful picture of a free city. But behind the scenes, there were abnormal lines to the markets, pharmacies, and ATMs. Due to the gas network damage, we didn’t have any gas during the freezing winter. There is still no gas in Berdyansk.
Fuel supplies were cut off as well. We were standing in lines in the early morning to get some fuel, and we were mostly walking, so we didn’t waste any petrol in case we need to leave the city.
Occupants confiscated civil vehicles, removed the plates, and pasted Z letter; now, they ride around the city on stolen cars. They seized WOG petrol stations and refilled them with russian fuel. This is a business for them. They are stealing Ukrainian grain, so they can sell it in russia.
Life in Berdyansk is when you can just pray to reach your home, and russians will not confiscate your car.
Life in the city has stopped. They started to cut off the connection; I haven’t heard from my relatives for weeks. The Internet works poorly; it often doesn’t work at all. They keep people in the dark, sowing doubts that Ukraine has left them. The only activity there was to buy more food, medicine, stand in line, and count the number of loaves of bread brought to the store, hoping that you would have enough. We were asked to turn off the electricity because the networks were overloaded. The occupiers imposed a curfew. Ukraine is taboo there. Either keep quiet – or you will be kidnapped, tortured and beaten, and later forced to leave. On June 1, they held a fireworks display in honor of Children’s Day. But everyone knows that Ukrainian children are being tortured and killed. The city rolled back to Soviet times of scarcity when people sold diapers and cigarettes because you couldn’t buy them in a store. They do not allow humanitarian aid from Ukraine.
Veterinary pharmacies do not work; products can only be bought on the market. Doctors and other specialists left the city. Everyone who needs surgery or serious medical care is asked to go to other cities because they will not be helped in the city. Children are encouraged to go to schools where they have changed the curriculum and language of instruction. Healthy people do not agree to cooperate with the occupiers, so they put criminals in leadership positions. Men are afraid of mobilization in the DNR troops, so they try to leave or stay at home. People are scared. They are under constant stress and panic because they do not know what will happen to them. They cannot decide to leave because it is a difficult and dangerous path, and they are afraid of not returning home. Everyone is waiting for the Ukrainian Armed Forces and liberation.
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