MK Special Correspondent reports from the LPR
The forces of the People's Militia of the Lugansk People's Republic (LPR), with the support of Russian troops, completely liberated Severodonetsk and the Azot plant. This was stated by the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Defense, Lieutenant-General Igor Konashenkov. On the second day, civilians are being evacuated from the territory of the plant, who have been in Azot shelters for the past weeks. The MK correspondent visited the scene and found out in what conditions civilians had to survive.
Photo: Lina Korsak < p>It is unusually quiet in Severodonetsk. The sounds of war are heard only in the distance, from Lysichansk. However, this, of course, is no reason to relax. The enemy, as the military say, although driven out of the city, is still trying to “snarl” at a distance.
People are crowding near the entrance to the shelter. Some, waiting for the bus, which is supposed to take people from the industrial zone to the city, are already sitting “on their suitcases” in full readiness. Others fussily carry their meager, miraculously surviving belongings out of the dungeons into the street. Despite the haggard look, people smile and even try to joke with each other and with the military.
I'm going down. The dungeon is dark and a little stuffy. After the exit is opened, the air enters there only naturally. There is no longer any need to force it manually.
Photo: Lina Korsak- Do not shine in the eyes, we have already lost the habit of bright light, – a hunched old woman asks to turn off the camera flashes.
People hastily pack their things between the densely set bunk beds.
– Where is my cat? – cries a girl of eight years old, smearing tears over her dirty face. – I won’t go without a cat.
The mother tries to calm the child, assuring that the tailed one, most likely, frightened by the fuss that began, hid, but will definitely return soon.
– There were sleeping places or did you set everything up yourself? – interested in a middle-aged woman.
– Sami. They brought something from the house when they ran here, something was already found here.
The beds are separated from each other by rags or cellophane. Not God knows what, but still personal space.
Photo: Lina Korsak
It becomes harder to breathe in the depths of the basement . The smell of dampness and unwashed bodies hits the nose.
– Do you want to see how we took water all this time? – a middle-aged man in a work jacket with an “Nitrogen” patch on the sleeve calls out to me. As the interlocutor later said, he is an employee of the plant. During heavy shelling in March, he hid in a shelter with everyone. Then he simply could not leave, the Ukrainian military stopped letting people out.
Together with the escort, we go into the room with the inscription “Well”. There is a gaping hole in the middle of the floor, next to it is a metal, cylinder-like bucket with a thick rope tied.
“There used to be a pump here,” the man explains. – I had to dismantle it because there is no electricity. Look in the middle of the bucket, there is a sledgehammer. We did this ourselves to make it heavier.
– What is the depth here? – I'm interested, leaning over the well.
– 12-15 meters. There was no other option to get water.
Photo: Lina Korsak
A commanding male voice asks the rest to pack up quickly. This is one of the soldiers providing evacuation. His request brings revival.
– How long have you been here? – I ask a middle-aged woman standing nearby.
– Since March 27. I don’t even know what date it is today, – the interlocutor smiles sadly, trying not to show excitement.
According to Natalya, she came to the shelter on her own, together with her neighbors. The house where they hid earlier was bombed, and people had no choice but to look for a new shelter. We thought the plant would be quieter. We made a mistake.
– How did the Ukrainian military treat you?
– They didn't really come down here to see us. Once they came with a proposal to evacuate to the side of Ukraine, they even made a list of some kind. But so no one came for the people. Someone said that it's already too late. The second time they came just to count us.
According to the woman, no one told people that a “green” corridor was organized on the side of the LPR, which the Ukrainian side disrupted.
Together with Natalia, we rise to the surface.
Photo: Lina Korsak
Military men help those gathered to load things into the Ural. After that, everyone is asked to get on the bus.
– Do you have any water? – an elderly woman asks, clutching a large plastic bag to her chest.
I bring a bottle of water from the car.
– Do you need to give it back? – as if hoping for a negative answer, the woman asks.
– No, leave it to yourself.
– I buried my son Vitalka here, – she shares with tears in her eyes. . I have him, you know what a handsome man he was. And what a good one! Didn't leave me anywhere. We changed three shelters.
Photo: Lina Korsak
A woman wipes her tears with the sleeve of a jacket thrown over her shoulders.
– We all cried, – a pensioner standing nearby intervenes in the conversation. – 39 years in total. They could not do anything, he bled out.
The heartbroken mother said that one day Vitaly, along with other men, went out of the shelter to the surface just to breathe. Then even the Ukrainian military allowed people to rise from the dungeon at least for a short time. After a while there were explosions. The man was already brought down with multiple wounds.
– Some of the guys ran to the military for help, – the woman cries. – They came, looked, said that now they would return with a doctor and be taken to the hospital. So no one else came. He was conscious until the very end. Here they were buried. And now how to find. Not even a mound. When will I find him? Dear son…