Kateryna Rybalka from Druzhkivka
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Good day! My name is Kateryna. I am from Druzhkivka, the Donetsk region. Our family suffered from the russian invasion. On the day when the war came, we slept and prepared for our affairs. At 5 in the morning, we woke up to powerful explosions. Kramatorsk airfield was bombed. It is near our town. We turned on the news and realized that putin started the war because he had said before that he wanted to take the Donetsk region. We realized that nothing good is waiting for us. We wanted to flee to the city of Dnipro, but we learned from the news that the war had come not only to Donbas but also to the entire territory of Ukraine. That’s why there was fear and panic. We didn’t know what to do next. So we lived on. After February 24, my life changed completely. Days pass, seasons change, but you feel nothing because you live in constant fear. Although now we are in relative safety. We evacuated to the Kyiv region. But every day we worry about our family, which remained in our town. We worry about our friends, our home, and the town in general. Every time our town is bombed, it feels like a knife stab in the heart. The day before yesterday they destroyed the school where I studied. It was very scary. The worst thing for me was when the rocket hit the station in Kramatorsk. At that moment, our relatives and friends were there, they were trying to evacuate. Thank God, they were inside the station and were not injured. It was very scary. Every day is scary. Every day I read the news and pray that nothing bad happens, that everything is quiet and peaceful. This is a very scary feeling. My daughter is 4 years old, her name is Maria. She does not understand that this is a war, because she was still young. At the beginning of the war, we did not tell her anything. When there were sirens, we hid in the cellar. It was in the form of a game for her. When we were already evacuated to the west of Ukraine, she communicated with other children and began to understand everything. She asks me when they will be kicked out when the war will end when we will go home. She understands that war is something bad, and because of this she cannot return home. Now she has calmed down a little, at first she cried a lot and hugged me, asked to go home to dad and toys. I try not to injure her mental health and to preserve her childhood. We go to playgrounds, learn, and continue to live because children are not to blame for the fact that their childhood was taken away from them. Before the war, I worked as an accountant, our company was reorganized, and my position was reduced. Everything was supposed to get better in the spring, but because of these circumstances, it didn’t get better. My husband worked in Kramatorsk as a purchasing manager, his company was closed. Now we live in the Kyiv region, we rent an apartment here. I, my mother, my daughter, and my mother-in-law live here. We live on state aid and my mother’s pension. My mother-in-law also lost her job. She had savings, we lived on them for these 5 months. I don’t know what will happen next. Humanitarian aid is no longer given. Winter is coming, we don’t know if we will be able to heat the house with gas and how much it will cost. This unknown is scary. I want to go to work, but the kindergartens are not open yet. For now, we are in standby mode. We have applied for kindergarten while we wait. My biggest fear is that this war will continue for a long time. People were leaving their homes in 2014 and hoping to return soon. But they did not return. And now I see month after month goes by, and I’m afraid we won’t get home. I am afraid that my town will be destroyed, that there will be nowhere to return. I want to go home. There is no better place than home, no matter what it is. The world needs to hear that russians are criminals. They fire rockets at residential buildings, killing and destroying everything in their path. Relatives and friends from russia do not understand us, they are convinced that putin is saving us, and they do not understand our pain and our fear. I see the future of Ukraine in the EU, I think that everything will be fine, and Donbas and Crimea will remain Ukrainian. Everything will be rebuilt, let 5 or 15 years pass. I hope that our children will already live normally, there will be no aggression and an unruly neighbor claiming our territories. I believe in this. I don’t want to go abroad, I love Ukraine sincerely. I was in the west of Ukraine and Kyiv, I realized that there is no better country than ours. I love my homeland very much. I don’t understand how someone can betray her. Thank you very much, it was a pleasure to share my emotions with you.