There was Russian roulette, because they fired at random, – a resident of Gostomel about the atrocities of the invaders
In Gostomel, the cannonade of shots did not stop for a minute/Alexey Reznikov's Facebook
Now Gostomel near Kiev has already been liberated from the invaders. However, the horrors that happened there are reminiscent of bodies lying on the road, bloody clothes, smashed houses and shelled cars with which people tried to escape from death.
The journalists of the 24 channel website talked to a resident of Gostomel, who had been in the city with his family for more than two weeks since the beginning of the war. Ali Safarov told us what the Russian army was doing and how they had to survive in unbearable conditions.
The lull was only for a few hours
I live in Gostomel, we bought an apartment there in 2015, less than kilometers. Therefore, when the first Muscovite rockets flew there at five in the morning, we felt it very well – the house really jumped from the explosions.
I assumed that the war would start, but I thought that all this would start on the weekend, because according to the logic of military operations, it is more convenient to attack on the weekend, when many have dispersed. But they attacked on a weekday. It was terrible, to be honest. The inflicted missile strike was very strong and powerful, but it was struck precisely at the airfield, so even our glass did not fly out, although it sagged from the explosions.
I was convinced that they had launched a missile attack on the airfield, and they would no longer be interested in it. I was also convinced that they would not develop an offensive against Kyiv, because, based on the information that we had then, they did not have a normal supply of logistics. That is, the supply of ammunition, fuel. This is a rather complicated thing, in the army I served in an automobile battalion and I can roughly imagine how many cars are needed for this, but there were none.
Then in Gostomel there was electricity, water, the Internet was wired. In the morning, I planned to contact work, resolve work issues, and then go to the draft board, because it was clear that the war had begun.
At 11 in the morning I got in touch with work and was supposed to go to the military enlistment office, but immediately after that they delivered a second – even more powerful – blow to the airfield. There were many different missiles. Then smoke came from the side of the airfield, and we saw a huge number of helicopters.
At first I thought that our helicopters were going to the airfield to remove the consequences of a missile attack, but then I saw among the landing helicopters that we and the Russians have, a Ka-52 attack helicopter, which only the Russians have. It became clear that they were not ours. They flew very low and there were a lot of them. The picture was very apocalyptic: smoke from a fire and helicopters in this smoke.
Airport in Gostomel/Photo by Andrey Novitsky
Our military unit, located at the airfield, gave them a fight – it was very loud. But after a few hours the battle stopped, and I saw our National Guard. I was sure that they were knocked out and already more or less safe. But, unfortunately, this was not the case, and we found out literally the next morning, when helicopters began to rise from the airfield and fired at Gostomel itself, near our houses.
They shot at everything that moved, so I again could not escape to the military registration and enlistment office. In the first days, they actively shelled everything around from helicopters, mortars, then artillery joined in. From time to time a battle broke out, we understood that our people were trying to knock them out. In general, from the first day of the war, the battle continued constantly: either a small-arms battle, or an artillery duel, or mortar attacks. The lull was only for a few hours – no more.
I personally did not see the Kadyrovtsy, but at a neighbor's godfather, a Kadyrovets shot dead in the center of Gostomel, because he refused to give him food. Kadyrovtsy were there, but they have very little strength. They did not have the strength to walk all over Gostomel to check and clean up the territory. Where they entered and hid, there they looted. A few blocks away – and they were gone, but they were shooting from afar.
Unfortunately, our marauders were there too. They started riding there from the second day of the war. At first we did not understand what kind of truck with Ukrainian numbers and a crane-manipulator rides and is not afraid of anything. When they pulled the payment terminal out of the store with a crane, everything became clear.
When we were about to leave, they drove slowly down the street and seemed to be looking out for who was leaving and who was not. I yelled at them: “Oh, hello, marauders!”. Yes, they left.
When they raised the mattress, there was just a puddle
The light went out on the evening of February 24 in our area, at the same time the water supply and sewerage were gone, because the pumps stopped working. My heating is an autonomous gas boiler, a battery was connected to it, so the heating still lasted 12 hours, and then it also disappeared.
From the morning of February 25, we no longer had either heating or water , no light. There was still mobile communication, the Internet was for several days – somewhere until February 28. Then the mobile connection almost disappeared and there was a big problem in order to charge the phones.
The people began to organize themselves. The mayor of Gostomel, Yuri Prilipko, ordered the opening of shops. The products there spoiled without light, people politely, well and in an organized manner took only what they needed. Nobody took alcohol, and this struck me the most.
But then they began to endure and drink alcohol, but really, not all people could withstand the stress, because constant shelling and explosions, and it was really Russian roulette because they fired at random.
We saw for sure that it was the Russians who fired, they randomly fired at residential buildings and you did not know where the next shell or mine would fly. In the first days, mines flew into our yard, smashed cars, a neighboring house – the top floor burned out there. A shell also hit our house and smashed the upper floors. In such stress, many could not stand it and started drinking.
But there are a lot of buildings in Gostomel, and the builders organized something like a self-defense brigade. They supplied the entire local population with their generator for charging telephones, guarded against marauders, they also went into shops and broke bottles with the remaining vodka so that this would not happen, they took out the wounded with their cars, although this was a big risk, because they were constantly fired upon.
In the end, one of their cars was shot, but it's good that none of them were hurt then. They helped a lot, despite the fact that they are not local residents, but just builders.
The streets of Gostomel after the Russian occupation/Screenshot from the video
Most of the people who were not burdened by anything started to leave in the early days. Mostly elderly people remained, those who were with small children, we have a patient lying in the apartment, which we also could not take out. That is, there were those people who had problems moving around. But everyone helped each other. Those who had food gave it to others.
I had reinsurance, I stocked up on food for a very long time. The only thing is that the meat spoiled very quickly. But we left on March 11, and there was food left for another six months. We gave to others what we could. People who had flour gave us flour, and we gave them something else. It was not an exchange, just whoever needed what they needed was given.
I had bottled water – large bottles of 20 liters, which I ordered the day before. And then they switched to well water. While it was more or less warm, the temperature in the apartment kept. When it got colder, we turned on the gas, pulled bricks from the nearest construction sites, put them over the gas stove. Then these bricks were transferred to the room where the mother-in-law was lying. We pulled the mattress to the safest place in the apartment, because we didn’t go to the shelter.
The shelter was not adapted properly – it was very wet there, people started to get sick there. It is clear that there is nothing safe under shelling, but our apartment was more closed by houses around, and we do not have a panel house, but a brick one. If they get into a brick house, it doesn't fold like a card house, it crumbles like sand wherever it gets, and the rest of the houses can remain intact.
We pulled the mattress into the corridor away from the windows, the whole family slept there. And the mother-in-law was already on her special bed with an electric lift. Without electricity, we could not use its functionality, but it remained cool.
About March 8, the gas was turned off, the temperature began to drop very much, we slept in our clothes. It is clear that the main problem was not so much the low temperature as the humidity. When we raised our mattress, there was just a puddle, water splashed. There was mold on the walls, it was very damp.
Cars on the road were shot up
I constantly hesitated whether to leave or not. Because, on the one hand, it is very difficult to leave with a lying mother-in-law, on the other hand, to stay and play this Russian roulette, when there is a constant battle around and the orcs destroy civilian quarters and houses are also not very good. We were also running out of medicine for the mother-in-law, diapers, and we had to do something.
We finally tried to leave on March 9th. The orcs allegedly gave us a corridor and an escort, but this escort was supposed to lead us through a mined bridge, which they themselves mined. They went around the mines, but in the end their self-propelled gun (self-propelled artillery mount – channel 24) exploded on its own mine, and we realized that if we drove over this bridge, we would just explode.
Several thousand cars gathered at the collection point for evacuation, people even walked, waited for buses that had not arrived, there were many patients, even in self-made wheelchairs, many with small children. Everyone gathered at the collection point and stood like that from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., then I already said that we had to return. According to rumors, many people who tried to return were simply not allowed back, they were forced to spend the night there in shelters.
On March 10, they also announced that there would be a “green corridor” and (they called it channel 24) a collection point. But mortars started firing at this assembly point, and I said that we were not going anywhere. Moreover, the attempt to evacuate our lying patient almost ended fatally. We didn't have a stretcher, nothing, we just carried her on a blanket. If we pulled her in one direction six of us with our neighbors, then we pulled her back together with my wife's brother, and with this pull we almost killed her.
Therefore, on March 10, we did not even try to leave. But on March 11, in the morning, a corridor was announced, and the night before, a mine exploded 10 meters from my car, but on the other side of the fence, so the car was saved, and I realized that something had to be done.
There were shot cars on the highway/Photo from Facebook Stas Kozlyuk< /em>
We assembled a small column, for the recumbent we knocked together a stretcher from the boards, on which we were able to carry it to the car. First, we went to the center of Gostomel to the gathering place, cars joined us on the way and it was clear that the convoy was really going, and in the center there were a lot of people waiting for buses, the buses were accompanied by the State Emergency Service.
Unfortunately, informing about this corridor was very untimely, we had almost no communication and the ability to receive information from telegram channels, so many people who wanted to evacuate simply did not have time to reach the collection point. We took our elderly neighbors. All those who were driving filled their cars as much as possible, the adults sat in each other's arms, even people were carried in the trunks. But there were a lot of people who wanted to, but not everyone managed to get there, because the buses didn’t wait long, they loaded up and left and drove even empty.
The checkpoint of the orcs didn’t examine our car very carefully, but there were boys from military service , they squeezed a motorcycle somewhere and knocked on cars to take something from people, cigarettes, food, but they didn’t poke their nose at me.
At the checkpoint they asked me to open the trunk – I opened it. I have old people in the car, a child, a lot of things, they didn’t take food, because they were afraid that it would attract attention, so they just let us pass quietly. Those conscripts who ran past us were of Slavic appearance, those who checked us at their checkpoint looked like Buryats and behaved normally.
But while we were driving along Bucha and saw burned-out cars, this could still be attributed to battles, but then, when we drove onto the highway, almost every 100 meters there were a lot of shot cars – old Zhigulis, minibuses, fashionable jeeps, cars from inscriptions “Children” and white armbands painted with red crosses. All of them were shot and it was clear that they were shot with people, because there was a lot of blood.
We drove in a column, we were afraid to fall behind each other, because it was clear: if the car breaks down and you fall behind, then you will become the same burnt skeleton on the side of the road. Explosions were heard, but not on the road, so I don’t know what kind of explosions they were.
Then we drove to Belogorodka, before ours, there was a long queue for entry, because many refugees were arriving from different columns. We managed to get through, passed the check, gave our bedridden an anesthetic injection and moved on to Kyiv. The only thing was that they were afraid not to visit the orcs again.
In Kyiv it was already light, warm, hot water, and, despite the fact that there were shelling and explosions around, it was still perceived quite differently.< /p>
It helped that we were in our apartment
We definitely plan to return to Gostomel. I would very much like to see our house, if not intact, then at least one that can be restored. One of the factors that helped us a lot all these days is that we were in our apartment, among the usual things, moments, all together. It helped a lot psychologically.
It felt like something terrible and dangerous was happening outside, but here inside, nothing could happen outside the windows. I understood that it was childish, it's like hiding under a blanket from a grandmother, but this feeling was very strong.
We left a lot behind there. On the first day, we packed quite chaotically, we had emergency suitcases, but we collected them with the expectation that we would have to go on foot, but we still drove out by car, and more things could be accommodated there. On the second attempt, we tried to download everything more adequately, but there were a lot of funny moments, for example, we took our son's virtual reality glasses, but did not take his clothes.
In general, it's a pity, because there are a lot of things dear to our hearts left, so we plan to return anyway. If at least something survives, that will be good too.
We didn’t know what was happening around, we only listened to the radio on the phone, and when you don’t have the opportunity to listen to the whole marathon, because then the phone will run out and there will be no where to charge it, we did not see the full picture and did not know.
But somewhere in early March, they began to orient themselves a little on the terrain and realized that the street past us was leading them from Gostomel to Bucha. And they drove there in a column – 70 armored vehicles. Moreover, for 70 units of armored vehicles – only one vehicle with fuel, and it was clear that they did not have logistics.
70 vehicles passed to Bucha, and 7 returned back, and scattered. That is, first 4 cars left, then one, then two more, which never reached Bucha, they stood near us and fired around. And this was a clear picture for us – how many of them are dying here. And this inspired us a lot.
In the early days, shelling, mortar shelling were constant, but after a few days helicopters stopped flying, then artillery fired much less often, if in the first days it was a flurry of fire, then after a few days it was several shots. It was felt that they did not have enough ammunition. When ammunition was brought to them, our artillery destroyed it immediately.
And it is clear that whatever this horde may be, it ends. And finally it will end completely.