Ukrainian war snapshots: Aleksandra Magurova on people who have escaped the Hell of War

This Strong Story is a translated excerpt from a blog post by Alexandra Magurova, an activist and volunteer helping refugees from the East of Ukraine, about refugees that fled the city of Vuglegirsk on February 4th from the bombings of the advancing Russian army and rebels.

“I will remember this day forever. Very little of what had happened had actually been planned; a lot of it must have been God’s will.

At 11:30 this morning I was at the Kiev Central Station, running on the platform to meet people who had escaped from Hell the day before. In total thirty-three people came in the last wagon of the train; these were the people who were escaping Vuglegirsk under fire and explosions. Almost all of these people are related to one another, mostly women, children, the elderly, and handicapped. These people hadn’t previously had the opportunity to leave their city. They had hoped against hope that things would somehow be all right, that the buffer-city of Vuglegirsk, which was at the time controlled by Ukrainian troops, would stand. They had spent weeks in damp and cold basements… but last week, their city turned into a real Hell on Earth. This was not shown on TV, but according to the locals, the city was bombarded constantly. There wasn’t even an opportunity to go outside to fetch some water. Everyone who had had the opportunity to leave the city had already done so; the only ones who were left were predominantly families with many children, the elderly, and the handicapped. They became the victims of this cruel bloody war. Even now as I write this, people remain in the Hell of Vuglegirsk. There is no contact with them, they have no food or water; many of them have fully-fuelled cars standing outside of their homes (or remnants of thereof), ready to flee, but the never-ceasing fire and bombings don’t give a chance to do this. The desperate wrap themselves in white bed sheets and set out to the nearby town of Debaltseve on foot. 

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