Monday, June 30, 2014

Situation report evacuees from Auslander

We received the first 5 evacuees who will be benefactors of our efforts. We have two adult women and three children. I will give no information about this group or how they came to us beyond these are special people whom no one else could help. When this war is over I will tell some details of the evacuees. This makes a total of 8 women and children we have gotten out. The first group of 3 women were all mothers of an earlier group of children evacuated that we were not involved with in regards to their actual evacuation. Mother is taking care of their food and lodging.

This group was picked up and taken to the facility where they will live for the duration. Their journey was not uneventful. After we arranged all for them, VCO spent three hours talking to them and translating for me as they rotated out to shower and clean up. They are exhausted but three were anxious to tell their story. The best therapy is for them to talk about their experiences. 

I am pretty good at gently getting information from people. When 3 people tell me the same story over the course of 3 hours and often not all 3 are together, and I from time to time go back to conversations an hour or two before the moment and ask a question and get the same basic answer, I tend to believe them. Plus, VCO spent some time speaking to them alone and she got exactly the same story with added details.

First, a caution.

All identifying information such as street names and numbers, personal names, places of work etc is redacted. These people are in danger simply because of who they are. We must protect them but we must also get their story out. The information they gave was detailed and voluminous, far more than what is written here.

The evacuees speak.

'I worked in a bank office. I have been there for some years. I have not been paid since March. Every week we were promised we would be paid next week. 3 weeks ago masked and armed men came to the office with manager. They ordered us to leave. We stood outside and watched as the men loaded all the computers, machines and records in to two large cars (trucks) and last they brought all the money in large black metal boxes. We asked them about our money and they pointed their automats at us and told us to shut up. They left. That night the bank office was burned. Our самообороны (defense forces) was blamed for the fire. It was not our men, it was the men who took all the money.

Militsiya (police) are useless. They don't work, they are cowards, they are waiting to see who wins this war. When there is trouble we send children running to get самообороны to us.

Shooting started. They shoot from the radio tower on the hill at us every day and every night. Many shops have been damaged. Almost all shops have stopped working now. No one could get their money from banks. All banks are closed. Every day someone is killed near us. We do not have any самообороны post in our area. The guns are very big. We can hear them when they shoot. We have nowhere to hide.

The factory where my husband worked was hit. It burned and there was some kind of white powder on the ground when we went to see the factory. самообороны told us not to touch the powder, it was phosphor and would burn our hand. There are no fire cars to put water on the fire. There is no water for them to use. My husband was not paid from May. His owner ran to Kiev long ago.

My husband went to самообороны. He told me I have to take the children and leave. We could not leave, there is no way out for us. We have no money to pay someone to help us. Our city is blocked by the enemy. No one can come in or out. We have no water, no electric, almost no food, no milk for the children, just porridge I make with water I get from a water car самообороны brings sometimes.

4 days ago my husband told me to pack very few things and be ready to leave. I do not question my husband. 2 days ago my husband in the night told me to wake the children, it was time to leave. He took us down the stairs to a car waiting for us. The house (flats building) across the street was burning at the top. I kissed my husband goodbye, he kissed our children and we left. He told me there was a way he will let me know every day he is alive. He said I would understand when I got to safety. He gave me 50 griven (4$), that is all he had. I did not know where we were going, he did not tell me.

(She began to weep) I thank God my children are safe. I am worried of my husband.' 


'I was in school when the first attack came. We had heard shooting before, lots of shooting. We had gone to the protests in city square when Kiev said we could not speak Russian any more. Russian is the only language I know. I go to internet and I read the rule of European Union and United Nations. They say we can speak Russian language. Why will not the politicals in Kiev allow us to speak? I was born in Ukraine, why do they tell me I have to leave? I do not understand.

There was a very loud noise, we all ran out from school to see what it was. There was a hole in the street, not a big hole. The air smelled of ammonium and sulfur. I know this smell from chemical class. There was a woman in the grass. She was not moving, her packet of food was on the ground. She had some potatoes and carrots and a packet of milk. The milk packet was broken, milk was on the ground. Our teacher yelled at us to go back to school, told us not to look. I saw the woman, her back had blood. I hoped she was OK. I know now she was dead. Why did they kill her? My mother knew her. Now she is dead. Why? My mother cried.

Our flat is on the top floor. We can see the mountain from our flat. It is not a mountain. I and my mother have been there, from there you can see all our city and the near villages and towns and the railroad and bridges and the big roads. When the big guns started to shoot I could see the flame as they shoot. My girlfriends and I would sit in our flat after school and watch them. We are clever, we learned fast how to know what was shooting. We could see explosions in distant areas, there was smoke and fire in the factories. Soon there was fires in flats houses. The shooting came closer to our house (flats building).

My mother said we had no money. She said her work did not give her money. She said father's work did not give him money. It is hard to find food now, almost all shops and magazines are closed, the shooting is to us now. Our самообороны told us it is Ukraine Army shooting at us. Why are they doing this? We are Ukrainian! I do not understand.

My last day at school my friends told me Aellona was dead. Her mother sent her out to find bread. She went to shops. All were closed. She was walking home. A bomb fell right beside her. My friends say she was in pieces. I liked her, she was my friend. Now she is dead. Why? What did she do? I miss her. She was very nice.

Father came one night and said we have to leave. Father would not come with us. I asked mother why father was not coming with us, she said she would tell me later. There was an old car (van) waiting, there was another woman and a child in the car. Father kissed us. We left. We drove all night on mud roads. A door on the car was missing, it was very cold and wet. The driver said he was lost. The other woman yelled at him, she told him mat (obscenities). She took his map and read it with her light. She told us to get out of the car, she would take us. The driver asked for money, the woman told him more mat. He left. We walked for a long time until we came to a river.

My (sibling) could not walk anymore, ---- is small. I carried and my mother carried ----. The other woman told us to be strong, soon we would be safe. She carried her child. We came to a road and we walked along the road. We came to a block post, I saw the Ukraine flag. I was afraid. My mother told me to be silent. Young soldiers stopped us, they all had guns. I looked and I saw the Russian flag on the other side of the water. A soldier took the other woman's passport and started to yell at her with mat. She kicked him and he fell. She told us to run to the other side. There was a lot of cars going across the bridge. Why were the soldiers yelling at us with mat? I did not understand but we all ran.

The soldiers on the other side shouted to us to come, they pushed us through their line, yelling at us to hurry. I was not afraid of these soldiers.

Women came to us. The women took us to a tent and gave us tea. It was warm in the tent, there was a stove in one side. It was raining and cold. My (sibling) was shivering. The women wrapped ---- in a blanket and put ---- beside the stove and they gave us all blankets. They spoke a different Russian than we speak.

A officer came in to tent. He asked the other woman who we were. She told him where we are from. He spoke to a soldier and told us to be calm, someone would come for us. We waited. After a long time a big white car arrived. Two women and two men came to us. One woman spoke to my mother and the other woman. When my mother and the other woman spoke the woman spoke to one of the men. I was afraid. We got in the car. It was warm. We went for a long time. We came to a strange looking Church. Women were waiting for us. We were taken to warm rooms with beds. We were given tea and small breads. My mother and the other woman cried. A Priest came to us. He told us we were safe. I can not sleep. I am afraid.' Child.

'My husband works in the mine. I work in magazine. My husband was paid until the end of May. He worked very hard. I have not gotten my money for many weeks and now magazine has bombed. It burned.

The protests started when Kiev passed the law saying no Russian can be used or spoken in Donbas. Russian is our language, it is all we speak. I went to demonstrations and meetings. At one meeting a man, a deputat (parliament member) from Svoboda Party threatened us, he called us traitors, he called us moskali. He had men with him with pistols. He said they will be no talks about what we want, he said we must do what we are told to do. We did not want to leave Ukraine, Ukraine is our homeland, we are born here and our children. We told him this. He began to shout, called us mat, said we wanted Russia not Ukraine. He said the army would come and kill all us and his fighters would come and kill all of us. He left. One man at the meeting was killed that night after he left the hall. He was shot on the street at the bus place. People were standing around him. Two men walked to him and shot him. He had wife and three children.

Soon the army came. They fought our самообороны and killed some of them. Our men had no automats then, just some old guns from the Great Patriotic War. Army took Karachun Mountain and began to shoot at us from the television tower. They can see everything. They do not shoot at our самообороны places they almost always shoot at our houses (flats buildings), magazines, markets, industry places, schools and mines. People began to die or be hurt.

At the end of our street on the next street a house of flats was hit on the roof and the sides. My neighbor told me 4 people died in the building, old women and one child 3 years. I began to be afraid. My husband began to be angry.

Every day the army shoots, sometimes at night and sometimes day. My child is in terror, the child screams at the sounds the child will not eat. Electric went off and now is only sometimes on and not long. We have no water next. Our soldiers bring water wagons to the districts on a schedule. We get 12 liters for us 3 days. Our gas is off, the station for pumps is bombed.

We started to hear stories of many young men coming to city. I saw some in our district. They look everywhere. They do not speak Russian like we do they have west accent. They look angry all times. самообороны says they are right sector from Kiev fighting. Militsiya will not arrest them. Militsiya are cowards, they just are waiting for the war to be over and they will criminal mafia again. самообороны does not have enough men to fight the enemy and arrest these right sector. We are afraid that when the enemy attacks the right sector will attack from inside our city.

Young women and girls began to disappear. We heard a scream one morning. There was the sound of a car running away and a woman started to scream. We went out. The woman was screaming someone took her daughter 13 years. Just one shoe was on street. She had gone to get water. It was two weeks before I left. No one has seen the child in two weeks. I know her mother. More young women and girls have been taken, where to we don't know but we women know why. They are all young and pretty.

My husband said I have to leave. I do not want to go from him. I have our child to think of. He went to his mother in a not far village. She is very old and sick. She can not leave. The village has been bombed, many small houses are gone, bombed and burned. My husband will send me and our child away and go to his mother. He told me to put some things for the child in a bag I can carry over my shoulder and be ready.

The next day my husband came to flat and told me I was leaving, the gather the child and come with him. We walked a kilometer and a very old and rusty car (small van) was waiting for us. The big door on the side would not close, it was held on with wires. My husband paid the driver and gave me the few money he had left. The driver does not look like a good man. My husband told him that if anything happens to me and our child he will kill the driver. My husband kissed us and we left.

The driver did not say much and the old car was very noisy. It was getting cold in the late evening and it began to rain and stopped. A tire broke and the driver had an hour to fix it. We started again and went for another hour to a house in another district. A woman and two children came to our car. We started again. The driver did not go on good roads he went on bad roads. He knows where to go, I think he is a smuggler probably cigarettes.

We went for hours on the roads, out of city all the roads he went were dirt and muddy. It started to rain again and it was very cold. We were all wet with the open door. Driver began to go slow. He stopped and looked at a map. I asked what he was doing. He said he did not know where he was. In the dark I could see a small village sign 10 m away. I got out and looked at the sign. It was old but I could read it. I got in the car and took driver's map. I could see a spot marked on the map and when I found the village I knew he was lost and not where we needed to be. I told him mat and told the woman to get out with her children and come with me. I took the map. The driver demanded more money. I told him mat he had never heard. We started to walk. The rain stopped. After we walked around the village, I did not want to go in village, I stopped and we talked for a minute while I looked at map. I thought we had 6 kilometers to walk to small river. If we follow the river it will take us to the border. I could see on the map that two bridges cross the border. We started to walk again, I carried my child, child is too young to walk such a distance. The woman and I had on low boots, her children had trainers (sneakers). Her young child began to get tired so she and her older child carried the young one.

We found the river. I looked at map again and I see we are 2 kilometers from a bridge. We turned and follow the river. We came to a road and walked down the side of the road. There was a few cars going in both directions. No one stopped to help us. Soon I saw the border, I could see the Ukraine flag. I loved Ukraine. I was born in Ukraine. After what Ukraine did to my city, my friends, after Ukraine killed so many of us for no reason, I hate Ukraine. I hate that flag. I could see the Russian flag on the other side of bridge. I told the other woman to follow me to border. Let me talk to border guard.

There was 3 guards on the walk place, the others were searching cars on road. One guard saw us and started to laugh. He said to his friends we were moskali running away. I told him no, we were going for holiday and our car broke. He asked my passport. He looked at propeeska and got angry. I shouted to the woman and children to run across the bridge. The guard tried to hold my arm. I kicked him hard between legs. I ran after the others with my child in my arms. We are in Russia.

A sarjant and two soldiers took us to some women who took us to a tent. They gave us blankets and tea. We were all wet and mud from the rain. The women dried us as best they could. One put more wood in the stove. The floor of the tent was wood. There were soldiers beds in the tent, the kind that fold. The women asked us for our shoes and told us they would take the shoes to the cook tent to dry them. My child was sleeping, child was exhausted.

An officer and a sarjant came to tent. The officer asked us where we were going. I told him I did not know, that our driver got lost and we walked to the border. He asked for my documents. I told him they were in Ukraine, the guard had them. He asked if I killed the guard. I told him what I did. He laughed. He said the guard was down for a long time. I showed him the map. He showed it to sarjant. Sarjant said 'I will radio them. They are looking for this group.' The officer, Kapitan, turned to me. "Welcome to Russia. You are safe."

I could not help it. All the fear and worry months was gone. I began to weep. The other woman came to me. She put her arms around me. She wept. We went to the tent door. Stepped out to the wood there. Our feet were bare. The rain was stopped, the moon was coming. It was cold. I could see the flag of Russia in the light. When my husband comes to me after war we will make some new life in Russia.

After time a big white car (van) came for us. Four got out. Two were women. Two spoke to Kapitan and Sarjant. One woman spoke to us. The men helped us carry our children to the car. The car was warm. The car moved. I slept.

I woke we are on a high hill. I could see a city. I knew where we were going.


The situation in the cauldrons of Kramtorsk and Slavyansk is deteriorating by the hour. The reports of chlorine gas being used starting yesterday are confirmed. The nazis will do the same with gas they did with bombardments. First one single mortar shell, then 5, then 50 as the world ignored the shooting at civilian targets. Missiles. First one, then 5, then salvos. Gas. Yesterday a single attack using 'non lethal' amount on a block post. Today more. What of tomorrow?

We are working hard on getting more women and children out. We have two who should be here shortly. More will come later this week. We/they waited too long. It is difficult now to get them out of some areas, impossible for some areas.

The silence from The West is deafening.