Reportage 14:30 11 Apr 2022

People survived humanitarian catastrophe, crimes of occupiers and daily bombings – reports from villages near Ivankiv

Photo: Rubryka

Photo: Rubryka

40 days without food, in occupation and blockade, under russian fire, and with thousands of armed vehicles tens of meters from the houses. Thousands of people in Ivankiv and nearby villages, which were among the first to meet with the "russian world" during the full-scale invasion of our "friends," lived in this reality.

After the withdrawal of the russians who didn't bring any good to Ukraine, humanitarian aid began to arrive in Ivankiv and nearby villages. With one of these humanitarian convoys from BGV Charity Fund, the Rubryka journalist travelled to more than 5 villages and collected an overall picture of what was happening to them during the occupation.

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Arrow sign near Ivankiv

A little about the road

To get to Ivankiv, located 80 km from Kyiv, you have to make a big hook through the south of the region. There the road is unrestricted, and only a 20-ton truck is experiencing difficulties, for which it's not easy to pass through winding checkpoints.

On the way we cross the border with the Zhytomyr region, we pass near Radomyshl, and then there are artefacts of war. An unexploded shell just sticks out on the road.

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An unexploded shell on the road in the direction to Ivankiv

Outside the window, there are broken roofs of houses near the railway crossing.

At the entrance to the location where the truck is to be unloaded, near the local village council, there is already a queue of people for the humanitarian aid. In an hour, volunteers are unloading their first batch of food.

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People in line for humanitarian aid in the Shpili village

They shoot right away if you get on the highway

The Shpili village. A few kilometres to Ivankiv and very close to the road where the russians stood.

"On the morning of the 25th (February), the orcs were already here on the highway. And they left four days ago," said Viktor, a local.

He says that when they first started walking on the highway, one of the houses on the border of the village was shot from a tank, either to intimidate or for fun.

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The house was patched by the owners. It was saved from great destruction by the barn, which was completely destroyed

"They set up a checkpoint near the road. When you get on the road, they shoot right away. Those who wanted to leave by car were shot. They said that if we interfered with them, they would come and burn the village,"  Viktor says.

Orcs were based in the local forestry. There were their tanks and other equipment. And what was in the forestry itself was stolen. Tractors were also taken away. With them, they dug trenches and hid places for tanks. And then, the territory of the forestry was mined.

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Firing point of russians

Volodymyr, who works on the territory of the forestry, says that none of the workers has been there yet, they are afraid of tripwires.

"One of our foresters wanted to go through the forest and blew himself up, they buried him today. There are lots of mines, lots of tripwires. Even the cemetery was mined, right near buried people," Volodymyr says.

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Remains of shell casings where the orcs stood. But the worst are mines and tripwires

The men say that the whole route was occupied by the occupiers' equipment. When our soldiers were hitting the column, russian helicopters later flew in, probably taking away the bodies. In the village, they say they were burned nearby. However, there is no confirmation yet.

Granddaughter asks to buy her many bread loaves

"They occupied us to such a level, that we were without food from the first day. We could not go anywhere: neither for food nor to the hospital. People died, many people. Strokes, heart attacks… We had no medicine at all," one resident of Shpili Tetiana said.

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Tetiana (left) talks about the difficult days of the occupation

"They clamped down to such an extent that we couldn't leave. And if one tried to go, they would get a bullet in the forehead," another woman said.

When one of the women in the village had to give birth, she was transported to Ivankiv by boat. In a few days, they also returned with the baby. Everything went well.

Locals say they shared food with each other, and men fished in the river and distributed it to neighbors.

"My granddaughter says, 'Let's go to Ivankiv and buy lots and lots of loaves.' She doesn't ask for sweets or chocolates. She says, that she wants bread," Tetiana says with tears in her eyes.

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Mom and daughter are waiting to get baby food

 The Buryats walked around and said: "Give us girls"

The Fenevychi village. The route on which the orcs stood runs through almost the entire village. Most of the time, locals say, there were Buryats and russian contractors. At the beginning of the occupation, the Russians killed several villagers. And then they began to loot. The local school and people's homes were looted.

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The young girl Oksana was kept in her house by her parents and was not allowed to go outside.

"Buryats walked around the village and said 'give us girls,'" says Oksana.

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Oksana (left) near the village council in Fenevychi

According to the villagers, the Fenevychi were saved from total looting and violence against people by the mayor Halyna Kozachenko.

"Thanks to our mayor, Halyna Ivanivna, we had our power. The flag was not changed over the village council," locals say.

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Halyna Ivanivna manages the reception of the humanitarian aid

And they add that when one evening the orcs hung a tricolor cloth over the local school, Halyna Ivanivna came and returned the Ukrainian flag.

The school was looted. Electric kettles and thermoses were stolen. Also, residents were robbed of cars, and a local store was burned.

The girl Oksana, with whom we are talking, is standing in line for humanitarian aid together with her father. She is embarrassed. She says this herself:

"They give you food and you feel humiliated. We have the opportunity to buy, we have money on the card, but how to use that card… There is simply no place to buy food…"

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It became easier to get food when humanitarian trucks started to come

"Aren't you afraid of us?"

Then Halyna Ivanivna tells about her meeting with the russian occupiers:

"Apparently, the strength of love for these people (points to the queue at the village council – ed.) gave me courage. I know that they are all behind me, that they are all defenseless and everyone wants to live. The main thing for me was to save their lives. We had nothing to fight with, there was no way to show heroism, we showed it by behaving properly and staying alive.

On February 25, I rode my bicycle through the village to see if all the people were alive or if no one needed help. I saw a herd of russian soldiers on the road. I laid out all my phones. I told my family that if I didn't come back, you would take the phones home.

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Halyna Ivanovna is greeted by the locals for her courage

I approached them and said: what kind of horde do you have here? Their eyes popped out. They ask: "Why are you driving here, aren't you afraid?" I say, "If you are not afraid of me, I am not afraid of you."

She started talking to their chief. I say this: if you are the main one, keep order, and this will be my territory, and do not come to the village. I immediately showed him that I am the main one here. Somehow I managed to find words for these scoundrels, I can't say otherwise. The chief promised that they would not enter the village if we did not borther them."

18 children lived in the basement

Zaprutka. Another village where orcs stood. Unlike others, here they were directly in the village, went from house to house, and, according to locals, committed crimes. In particular, two underage girls were raped. This will be confirmed later by the leadership of the Ivankiv's village council.

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Burned civilian car

Ms. Nina moved from the occupied Zaprutka a little deeper into the steading. I hoped that the occupiers would not get there. But the russians went around the village, took cars from the locals, the woman says.

But the worst thing, according to her, is the total destruction of nearby villages – Zherevpillia, Teterivske, Pidhaine.

"They were bombed from the plane. Three planes in the morning, afternoon, and evening, as if it was scheduled. Each plane dropped 2 bombs, overall 6 at a time. In 22 days I counted more than three hundred. I have already stopped counting," Ms. Nina said.

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Ms. Nina talks about the daily bombing

There are several versions in the village about the reason for such destruction of settlements. According to one of them, the orcs were afraid that they would have cut off the way to escape. On the other hand, they simply dropped bombs so as not to bomb larger settlements.

Наслідки бомбардувань

Consequences of the bombing

Ms. Nina rescued children from nearby villages in the basement of the house where she lived. A total of 18 children lived there, the woman said. And this in conditions of almost complete lack of food.

"While there was flour, I baked pancakes for children. And then we ran out of the flour. The children run into the house and said: 'give us pancakes.' And I say: 'there are no pancakes, children…'" Nina says.

There've been leaving for 4 days, 500-700 units per day

According to Ms. Nina, at one point the orcs got into the car and hurriedly left Zaprudka.

Employees of one of the private farms nearby say that the occupiers' equipment has been leaving the Kyiv region for 4 days. 500-700 units every day. For all time it is at least 2000 thousand units, but this is the minimum number, in fact, more, locals say.

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russians took most of their destroyed equipment, but not all of it

While fleeing, the orcs blew up the bridge near Ivankiv. The explosion was so powerful that windows broke in some nearby villages, and fragments were found even in the center of Ivankiv.

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The bridge on the way to Ivankiv was blown up

"They were driving loaded with loot. They were carrying carpets, mopeds, and plumbing. We even saw how they hitched a BMW to a regular muzzle-loader and drove to belarus," one farm worker said.

"They don't know what a microwave is, let alone a BMW," adds another.

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Boxes from packed food near the track

It's still unknown in the community how many civilians russians killed

Throughout the trip, locals told us about killings of civilians, rape, and kidnapping. Some returned home, some still held hostage by orcs.

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Another ruined yard

It is difficult to record all the crimes, there is even no mobile service and electricity in the villages yet. Even the water supply in Ivankiv has not been restored yet.

Ivankiv Village Council confirms cases of war crimes. Police say they are working with the parents of the raped girls and recording the disappearances. How many civilians were taken by the orcs from the villages near Ivankiv is still unknown.

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A village council of Ivankiv has to do a lot to restore the infrastructure

Now they are working to provide people in the villages with food and rebuild critical infrastructure, the representatives of the community say.

We are returning. Volunteers on the way to Kyiv are assuming:

– Two days without the Internet. Maybe putin has already died there.

– Maybe…

P.S. He did not.


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