KYIV – The National Herald continues reporting from the front lines of the war, recording the heartbreaking scenes of the war in Irpin and Kyiv.
Destroyed houses and demolished lives. People left the Ukrainian capital at the risk of their lives, leaving behind what they had painstakingly built and created. Others lost loved ones in battle. A trip to Irpin confirmed to TNH how true the pain is that we have been seeing for so long in the media. Many of the civilians were lost trying to leave the country, while others fell during the fighting. Others, and there are many, lived to proudly tell us about some of the successful battles with the opposing forces.
Vladi tells us such a story. He is a soldier of the Ukrainian forces who volunteered to join the Ukrainian army at the beginning of the war. TNH met him at the entrance to Irpin where he stopped us at a checkpoint. We showed him our passports and he informed us that we could not pass yet because technicians were detonating explosive devices. We replied that we would wait as long as necessary as we wanted to travel to the greater Irpin area, in order to enrich our reporting. He asked us where we were from. Our colleague from Star channel answered him “from Greece.” He shook his head. The translator, being Ukrainian, adds “the reporter in black is from America.” Suddenly his expression took another form. With a smile on his face, he started talking non-stop to the translator. With a question and an awkward smile, the reporter asked the translator “well why does he speak so loudly and smile?” The translator replied: “Thank you for the weapons sent to him by the American government and for this reason he will take you back there, where a tank has been blown up and he himself has killed two Russians.”
The reporter accepted his offer without a second thought and replied “should we take our Greek colleagues to translate for me since you do not speak English?” To which he replied: “Come quickly behind me, but only step where I step. The place is still mined. And above all, do not touch anything.”
We followed him until we reached an area in the forest where there was a damaged tank. Debris was everywhere – An overturned tank and a helmet belonging to a Russian soldier. Vladi tells the story of the battle: “As soon as they reached the spot, two Russians came out of the tank in order to retreat.” When asked what the Russians told them when they were taken prisoner, Vladi answered: “What do you mean what they told us, they did not have time to speak, we killed them.”
The reporter once again with tears in her eyes could not imagine that even though they were retreating, they were killed. They are also people you see; they are also the children of a mother. A mother and father who are now crying for a child they lost. Whatever army they belong to, whatever country they support. Doom and loss have no colors, no nationalities. It’s a waste. It’s pain… It’s sadness… And the reporter’s presence in the area over the last week has confirmed that pain remains when we talk about the loss of a human life, because the Ukrainian army is fighting for their homeland. According to eyewitnesses, the soldiers of the Russian army are 20-year-old beardless youths!