In southeastern Ukraine, on the Dnieper River, the city of Zaporizhia is resisting Russian attacks, which by land and air are trying to destroy a strategic city for Ukraine. About 12 kilometers from here, army soldiers are defending it with their lives. They serve as a physical bulwark holding the Russians back in a still stalemate battle. And then, since last fall, the bombing of Zaporizhia – important above all for the hydroelectric power station – has intensified.
Here people used to live Constant alert. Almost every day an alarm sounds calling for them to take refuge in the cellar, but they carry on with their lives as normal. “We can’t stand idly by or hide. The army is risking their lives for us so close to here and we have to help in any way we can,” Lina told ABC, while showing this newspaper the results of one of the bombings in the city last October. We have to go on and defend our city and our country.” In the middle of a downtown street, he points his finger at the empty space between two buildings. Families with children live there. 42 people died. “They were sleeping in the middle of the night when a missile hit them,” Lena said.
At the age of 24, Lena works in the Zaporizhia municipality. Program coordinates for more than 300.00 refugees Those who are in the city, which includes the logistics of their housing and volunteer activities, which act as a kind of resistance where those who want can help the army by weaving nets with camouflage fabric and making cartridge bags, hats, covers for mats, sleeping bags by hand or backpacks used by soldiers at the front.
The programs are part of one of the projects launched by the mayor of Zaporizhia, Anatoly Kortev, who received volunteers from the NGO Help To Ukraine in his city council office on Tuesday. He thanked them for “all the help” they are providing to the area. People have left because we are at war and you came here… You are our heroesHe said while shaking everyone’s hand. “We want the world to understand that we don’t want anyone to tell us how we should live. We want to be free,” he told Ciudadanos deputy and member of the Spanish delegation to the NATO Assembly, Miguel Ángel Gutierrez, when he recognized the value of the Ukrainian people in standing up for democratic values.
Our soldiers form a strong line of defense. The Russians should be afraid because the city is protected. They attacked us from the sky, but now, thanks to Biden’s visit, we will Air protection”says Anatoly Kortev. It is this optimism and fighting spirit that has led him to mobilize since the beginning of the war, when the administration set up an information office in which he collected testimonies from refugees who arrived in Zaporizhia from Mariupol.
“They told us what it’s like to live in a crowded city and everything that happens. We understood that this could happen here and we coordinated with the central government,” he explains. That organization collected water, food, medicine, blankets, boilers and generators in the various shelters distributed throughout Zaporizhia. Mariupol citizens told us they stayed There are no provisions. We are ready to endure the most difficult and difficult situations.
When, last October, Russia began heavily bombing the city, the city council launched an emergency program: “They destroyed homes and private homes, and eight buildings were completely destroyed… Our plan of action begins as soon as there is a bombing.” When a missile hits a building, the emergency team arrives immediately and works in two directions. On the one hand, rescue and search operations for people begin; While another team takes care of the wounded. They have ready-made clothes Food and psychological support for survivors. And also a private bus with hot drinks, coffee and some food, as well as administrative staff who help them with the documents they have lost.
Learning to live with problems doesn’t make them solve quickly, but it does help deal with them. And that matters in this war in Ukraine, where everyone is focused on the soldiers on the front lines and that’s why the rest of the country is trying to take control of normal. This is why, once bombed-out buildings have been evacuated, it is time to rebuild them. “Here we find ourselves faced with another problem: we need technology and manpower for these buildings, but since they are overturned at the front, our soldiers have run out in the city,” Anatoly Korteev admits. And he concludes: «But what is important is our soldiers, and in the meantime we will resist. We are together and together we are walking towards the victory of Ukraine.