When Tamara and Alyona first reached out to us, everything looked like a typical refugee story in Dnipro. They came from eastern Ukraine – Tamara lived with her family in Severodonetsk while Alyona lived with her family in Lysychansk. They are related; Tamara’s daughter Bogdana is married to Alyona’s 28y old son who joined the army and they didn’t hear from him ever since. We thought that was the toughest part of their story but we were wrong. We’ll share with you a painful story of a family separated by war.
Before the war, Lysychansk was a well-known industrial city with a population of 91,000. Alyona and Andrei lived a peaceful life; Andrei was a professional driver and they could afford a decent living. Their lives didn’t change on February 24th; they have been changed two days before the war when Andrei suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. The huge shock was followed by a war that started two days after. Many cities have been shelled on the east and Lysychans’k was no exception. Andrei has a very difficult time adjusting to his new condition under bombs; imagine being trapped with no possibilities to escape while hearing explosions in your neighborhood. Alyona first said farewell to her loving son who joined the army and then started to prepare her mission to move her disabled husband out of the danger zone. She contacted Tamara, her daughter-in-law’s mother, who was looking for options to escape from Severodonetsk with her daughter Bogdana and 3-year-old grandson Savely. They decided to flee together after Tamara reach Lysyschans’k with Bogdana and Savely.
The big plan also included Alyona’s parents who lived in the village of Nyrkove. However, the parents were reluctant to leave their property with all the animals.
Alyona tried to persuade her parents to join her in Lysychans’k but the Russian aggressors were quicker and forcefully took the remaining inhabitants of Nyrkove and nearby villages. The rest of them died in the shelling and horrors that followed. We are sharing with your an exclusive video from village Vrubovka, an undeniable proof that the village has been destroyed:
Village Vrubovka, Luhantsk Oblast, #Ukraine.— Slaven Vujic 🇺🇦 Flaming Beacon (@slaven_vujic) June 26, 2022
“Special operation” leaves nothing but horror to peaceful villages.
We know people that are forcefully deported to Russia from the village.
We know the truth because we are taking care of other family members who fled under fire. pic.twitter.com/XXg7F57lD7
Alyona’s parents were forced from their homes in slippers and bathrobes. They were taken further east near the border with Russia.
The aggressors gave them two beds in a big sports hall that had no toilets in use. They were free to move around the sports hall and in the occupied city that had no escape routes. That’s how they contacted Alyona – they were lucky to catch a poor Wi-fi signal. They were crying on the phone; they had no money and everything they worked hard for was destroyed or left behind.
Alyona felt desparate. Her parents were forcefully taken, while she had no knowledge of the whereabouts of her son. Yet she had to protect her disabled husband by leaving Lysychansk and going even further from her parents and her son.
When Tamara came to Lysychansk with her family, they quickly found a driver and planned their escape route. They were joined by Alyona’s neighbor who had a 1,5-year-old boy. Six adults and two children with only basic belongings left Lysychansk under fire, wishing only to stay alive and save the children.
“On the road, there were many cars from Lysychansk. The aggressors were shelling the road. We covered the eyes of the children so they couldn’t see the explosions around us. My husband was disoriented and wanted to go back home. In those stressful days, he also started to have issues with memory loss. I cried because I was escaping and my son and my parents remained in the occupied territory. When I’m going to see them again?”, Alyona shared her feelings and thoughts.
We heard many difficult stories in this war and we witnessed tragedies. We at Flaming Beacon are ready for such stories but each story comes with its own unexpected details that leave make us speechless.
“Thank you so much for your help”, said Alyona after accepting the food & medicines we delivered.
“We received some help but it’s not enough. Fifteen people are living in this apartment, of which are three disabled. We share one small kitchen and one toilet. Now they say we need to pay for the room. We are surviving, but it’s difficult”, added Alyona.
All we could say after this story was – you are not alone. And we at Flaming Beacon will do our best to help Alyona, Andrei, Tamara, Bogdana, and Savely. This family needs a decent place to live, food, and medicines, but they also need new friends.
And friends they are going to have.