Ukraine war: Bucha resident Olga, 94, says Russia's invasion is worse than Nazi's WWII occupation

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By Anelise Borges
Olga Petrivna Kuzmenko
Olga Petrivna Kuzmenko   -   Copyright  Credit: Anelise Borges

Footage of dead civilians lying in the streets of Bucha near Kyiv has horrified the world.

But it's been especially harrowing for those who recently escaped the Russian occupation of the town.

People like Olga Petrivna Kuzmenko, 94, and her granddaughter Mariia Kozlova.

They sheltered underground from the Russian bombardment for nearly a fortnight, without water, electricity, and gas.

But with Olga losing consciousness from the cold, her family helped her to escape.

"These are our ‘brothers’," said Olga, a survivor of the Nazi occupation of Ukraine during WWII. "We have similar languages. I’ve never thought they would behave like that. They’ve totally destroyed our villages.

"I thought I’d lived through a war already, so I will live through this one too. But it was worse. They started attacking peaceful civilians because they could not get to the military. So they bullied peaceful citizens any way they wanted. They raped people. It was so scary! Don’t even know how some poor people managed to survive. Because we were lucky to leave a bit earlier."

The total destruction Olga talks about is slowly being unveiled as Ukrainian troops regain ground that up until last week was controlled by Russian soldiers.

Her granddaughter, Mariia Kozlova, told Euronews what it was like to experience the Russian bombardment.

“The first explosions were very powerful," she said. "Our windows rattled. The floor shook. We got out of our building because we did not understand what was going on. We did not know what to do and where to hide. Were we safer at home? Or on contrary, it was safer to leave the building as soon as possible? We heard the noise from helicopters, we saw them, but could not understand what was going on."

Mariia, referring to the pictures coming out of Bucha, added: "It’s devastating. It’s so difficult to see the places and streets you know now destroyed.

"We want to go back. We know it is possible to rebuild it all."

Watch Olga's interview in the video player, above. Warning: distressing footage.