KYIV – The National Herald continues reporting from the front lines in Ukraine, recording the current situation this time in Stoyanka, a few kilometers outside of Kyiv.
Arriving at the entrance of the area, we saw familiar images: destroyed buildings, burned houses, overturned tanks. Right in front of us, the moment we passed the block, we saw the remnants of a gas station. A few days ago a shell destroyed it completely. Nothing was left standing of the houses and shops around the gas station either. The severely damaged shopping center is deserted and abandoned.
We left the car in order to continue the journey. The soldiers instruct us once again to be careful.
First stop is the courtyard of the shopping center. An shell sits stuck to the asphalt. It never exploded! – but it still created a huge hole in the ground. At least no human lives were lost. Going forward we see the supermarket which has cracks in the walls and broken windows everywhere. An awful smell emanates from the entrance, obviously from spoiled food that has been left out, unrefrigerated, for so many days. There were still products by the registers which means that at the time of the explosion people were inside, people who at that moment lost the very earth under their feet. Products were missing from the shelves… you can tell the store was looted by soldiers who are guarding the area since the basic necessities are hard to find in times of war. There is food on the floor, broken glass and bottles. If we did not know exactly what happened, we would think an earthquake had struck.
Leaving the supermarket, right behind the building a burned-out tank and a house literally in ruins can be seen where a few weeks ago you might have heard children’s voices, laughter, and joy.
A soldier informed us that a family with five children lived in this house, a family that was forced to separate due to the war. The children and the mother are in a refugee center in Poland and the father is fighting for the Ukrainian army. These people in a moment were left homeless and most importantly lost the warmth of family. They are no longer united, physically, at least, but surely something very strong unites them. And when the war is over they will start a new life. A little further, there is a restaurant that had just been renovated. Speaking to TNH, the owner said with tears in his eyes, “I may be happy to be alive but I lost everything. This store was what I was struggling with for so many years. All my savings went into the renovation. And now it’s debris.”
Yet another day of the shocking images of the war. People lost their lives and their property. We ourself were lucky for one more day… and the war continues.