'Situation in Kherson is unimaginable': Ukrainians speak about life and hope near the frontline

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By Natalia Liubchenkova
Natalia, psychologist and volunteer from Mykolaiv, Ukraine, tells Euronews about the situation in the city located near the frontline amid Russian aggression in Ukraine
Natalia, psychologist and volunteer from Mykolaiv, Ukraine, tells Euronews about the situation in the city located near the frontline amid Russian aggression in Ukraine   -   Copyright  October 2022. Nataliia Liubchenkova / Euronews

Psychologist Natalia doesn’t get her news about Ukrainian army moves from TV.  Like others we met in the Mykolaiv region, every day she follows anonymous first-hand reports on social media and knows Ukrainian soldiers on the frontline and volunteers who are trying to help civilians living on the territories temporarily occupied by Russia.

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Natalia is reading local social media news channels to learn about Ukrainian army advances on the frontline in Mykolaiv, Ukraine. October 2022Natalia Liubchenkova/Euronews

“What is going on in Mykolaiv and the Mykolaiv region is a horror, this is a real horror, what is going on in Kherson is unimaginable. It’s Bucha number two. The closer they /Ukrainian soldiers/ are to Kherson, the greater the chances of more civilians staying alive,” Natalia says.

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The facades of the buildings damaged amid Russia's aggression in Mykolaiv, UkraineNatalia Liubchenkova/Euronews

Every other evening, Natalia bakes at home to send food to the frontline to support Ukrainian soldiers. "The road to get there is hard," she says. "The one to Kherson, temporarily occupied by Russia, is way harder. A drive that took an hour before now takes volunteers six days. Then medicine vital for life can be confiscated by the Russian army at checkpoints".

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Natalia is baking pastries for the Ukrainians soldiers in Mykolaiv, Ukraine. October 2022Natalia Liubchenkova/Euronews

Countless villages in the south stand in ruins with their former inhabitants now displaced. Among them Maria who we met in a nursery home not far from Mykolaiv. Nothing is left of her family house in the Kherson region. 

Maria Potsiluiko who has now almost lost her sight misses her daughter and grandchildren who have to live in a small apartment on another side of the country. She sobs when talking about her family scattered across the country.

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Maria, an internally displaced person from Kherson region, whose house was completely destroyed and now lives in a nursing home not far from Mykolaiv, UkraineNatalia Liubchenkova/Euronews

Her husband Anatoliy was the last person evacuated from the village where the family has built their life. Six days after a rocket fell on his doorstep burning his feet and destroying what he'd put his life into - the building. 

He was evacuated by his grandson, under gunfire - the mission appeared too risky for any humanitarian organisation.

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Anatoliy Potsiluiko lives in a nursing home after being evacuated from his house destroyed by a missile amid Russia's aggression in Ukraine.Natalia Liubchenkova/Euronews

A wide network of charities and volunteers supports the army and those most in need. Despite extreme fatigue, their devotion is remarkable yet barely enough to cope with all the devastation brought by the Russian aggression.

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Liudmyla Falko, the head of a charity association welcomes Euronews at her office and a storage room for the international aid. Mykolaiv, Ukraine. October 2022Natalia Liubchenkova/Euronews

“We know a lot of our soldiers are taking back our land centimetre by centimetre and we are very grateful for it. We are trying to do everything possible to bring victory closer,” says Liudmila Falko a head of the charity 'Association for peace through the spiritual revival'

For people in southern Ukraine, the advances of the Ukrainian army mean the end of the imminent danger for them and their families and a chance to start rebuilding their lives.