Mission “save life”: WP showed how people are evacuated from the hell of war in Ukraine



From time to time, the ravine, just 12 kilometers from Bakhmut, hears the sounds of artillery almost around the clock. People still live in the city – without water, gas, cellular communications. From time to time they are tried to persuade them to leave, but the most stubborn ones stay.

The Washington Post published a report from the city to show how the Ukrainian military and volunteers are taking people out of hell.

After 13 months of a full-scale Russian invasion, Ukrainians too sick or too proud to evacuate from the war zone remain in danger and need someone to come to them: listen to their problems and convince them to leave, the article says.

Journalists talk about volunteers – Ignatia Ivlev-York, 27, from Briton, and Yaroslav Susik, 28, from Ukraine – they are part of a group that has evacuated 4,000 people since May, pulled them out of the most dangerous places and helped them take the first steps towards moving to the Ukraine border .

Volunteers in the city of Chasov Yar during the evacuation of the local population / Photo by The Washington Post

Why do people stay

Those left now are the most reluctant, and convincing them takes time and attention, which is often lacking in a war zone.

There is no reason why people decide to stay for so long. Some say they don't have relatives, or that they are too old or sick, or they are fatalists who are convinced “what is going to happen will happen.” Others are afraid of new difficulties, for example, to be left without a job. Some are frowning, saying that no one needs them, volunteers say.

According to Ignat, the number of evacuations has decreased from about 300 in December to 90 in the last month.

He said that he met a woman who was raped by the Russians and her husband was killed in a forest village near Kiev. He was able to convince him to leave with the child, and it filled him with great relief that people who had endured so much could be safe.

The rest of the stories don't end so well. Another man, who refused to evacuate despite his wife's pleas, later found her mutilated body after she was killed by the Russians while she was fetching water.

Ivlev-York and Susik during a mission to Vremenny Yar / Photo by The Washington Post

Chasov Yar: the evacuation did happen

Despite the difficulties, after persuasion, some residents of the city agreed to leave.

Svetlana Goboshapova, 62, said she was nervous about the shelling. Her husband passed away a couple of years ago

Other women, Khoboshapova and Romanyuk, gathered their clothes, packed the radio and climbed into the waiting car. It is planned to stay with his nephew in Cherkassy. “Neighbors would stick together,” she said.

From the age of 19 to 94 she lived in the Time Yar: the story of Anastasia

The next evacuee on the list is Anastasia Mezena, who survived the Nazis in her youth. At the age of 94, there is more struggle in her heart than pain in her shattered hip.

A volunteer helps an elderly woman during an evacuation / Photo by The Washington Post

The woman dared to leave the house / Photo by The Washington Post

On the team's fourth visit, Anastasia still packed the essentials: onions and apples, a magnifying glass she reads with, old photographs, and worn Mother's Day cards. The plan was to take her to a shelter where volunteers would take her to her sister in Poltava.

But first she had to get to the car. But she can do it, with the help of the “golden guys”, as she calls Ivlev-York and Susik.

Evacuation can be difficult, many people have health problems, people with limited mobility / Photo by The Washington Post

Her hip hurt with every step she took, wondering if she would ever see her home again.

“I've lived here all my life,” she said, “and now I don't know where I'm going next…”. Her voice trailed off.

Anastasia Mezena cries leaving Vremya Yar / Photo by The Washington Post

Residents decide whether to leave the frontline city / Photo by The Washington Post

Note! Before the war, the population in the city of Chasov Yar numbered 15,000 people, now most have left. The infrastructure of the city is already very destroyed. The city often suffers from shelling by Russian artillery.

Can Chasov Yar become a new fortress of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

  • From time to time, the Yar functioned as a vital supply route for Ukrainian troops involved in heavy fighting in and around Bakhmut.
  • As early as March 4, Defense Ministry intelligence reported that the vital bridge connecting Vremya Yar with Bakhmut had been destroyed.
  • Bakhmut still remains the epicenter of hostilities, super-heavy battles continue outside the city, but the Armed Forces of Ukraine are confidently holding the line.

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