Kherson is the only regional center under temporary occupation. While the Armed Forces of Ukraine are preparing to liberate it from Russian invaders, life seems to have stopped in the sunny city on the bank of the Dnieper River. This is especially felt in the afternoon. The streets are empty – no people, no cars. Dark houses, a pervasive atmosphere of fear.
According to various estimates, over 150,000 people remain in the occupied Kherson. Before the war, there were twice as many. Those who were able have left for Zaporizhzhia, Kryvyi Rih or the occupied Crimea with the intention to return to Ukraine via third countries later. But there are newcomers too. These are displaced people who, fearing for the lives of their families fled from Mariupol, Melitopol, and other places.
Despite their desire, many people cannot leave. Those who have the opportunity do it. Like the heroes of this story. His story about how he feels under occupation, the hardships and the difficult path to freedom is another page in the huge book of Ukrainians’ suffering.
The war will end, and this book will remind new generations that freedom is the highest value for which thousands have given their lives, lost their homes, lost everything but hope.
Ksenia Keleberda, Kherson-Kyiv
Video is prepared within the project “Countering Disinformation in Southern and Eastern Ukraine” funded by the European Union