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Asieyeva Anna



How did you experience war in 2014? What do you remember from that? How old were you? How did 2014-2015 go for you?
Please tell this story in detail.

In 2014, people from russia tried to take over my city. I was 13 at the time and I don't remember much from that time because my brain just blocked out those traumatic memories. But I remember those feelings inside very well. When you are scared. You are so scared that you can't even breathe... You don't sleep because you always have to listen to what is happening outside in order to run to the basement in time. I remember how in the first week of the russian offensive, Ukrainian television and radio completely disappeared, everything was pro-russian, then gas, electricity, and water also disappeared. Then they tried to put into our heads that Ukraine is our enemy... Unfortunately, many people believed it. A very vivid memory is probably the day when Lysychansk was liberated: russians ran down my street, hid in empty houses with the words: "we got left behind" All they left behind were ruins…

"Where were you these 8 years?".
How has this time passed for you, what changed in your life since the events of 2014?
What has influenced you the most during this time?
Please write in detail.

After these terrible weeks of shelling and our thirst for life, this hell was over. My city began to resume its life at the usual pace. The youth in Lysychansk became very active and began to develop the city.
We had a teenage group with guys who were engaged in skating at the VMH.
And so it happened that at that moment, girls and boys came to our city with the "City Code" project. We went to a meeting of theis, talked and decided to make an indoor skate park.

The project unfolded in the old premises of the Druzhba (t.n. `Friendship`) cinema. We did not change the name, because it was the most appropriate one for us. We also created a public association called "The People". And so, in 2017, we opened the first indoor skate park in the Luhansk region. But since we did not know all the "buts", things didn't go so well. So a year later, we started a new project with the guys from "Street Culture", to make not just a skate park, but a full-fledged urban center "Druzhba". There was basketball, street football, parkour, break dancing and, of course, the skate park itself; there was also free space arranged on the second floor. After us, other youth organizations began to get created, we started to change and develop our city. More and more promising young people appeared. We showed teenagers that sports are fashionable, that you can spend your leisure time with productivity. This was our life after the 2014 war. We have erased from our memory those terrible hours in the basements . But the year 2022 came, which once again brought us back to that 2014... Except this time everything happened much worse...

What was February 24, 2022 for you like?
Did you believe that a full-scale offensive would begin?Where are you now? What do you do?

What do you think about your future now?

In 2019, I finished the 11th grade at school #8 and entered the first year at the Lviv Printing Academy. I started living in Lviv, but from time to time I came to Lysychansk to visit my parents. And since I work as a tattoo artist, I also came to earn extra money. And so it happened that the morning of February 24, 2022 began for me in Lysychansk. I arrived to see my parents in February. Therefore, on the 24th, I woke up to the sounds of shell explosions... All I felt at that moment was known before fear, it was not like the others, it was special, full of blood and burnt flesh. For 10 minutes I just lay with my eyes open and could not move. Parents ran around the house and collected things, hid documents, valuables and dropped dishes on the floor. I just lay there and couldn't understand what happened, and my mother's words: "Come on, get up! The war has started for us," they caused me to break out in cold sweat. Rejection of the situation is what I felt. On the first day of the war, I was simply in a trance: I cried, then laughed, then stayed silent a lot.
I probably couldn't accept the war’s existence for about two weeks. Every day I thought that everything would end in a couple of days, but there was no end in sight. It was very gratifying that Ukrainian television was working and we could understand what was happening; the internet worked as well. Around two weeks - for sure. And life returned to the same loop again: it's five in the morning, you put on all the things you have, because it's hot outside (I walked in my grandfather's old shoes), you run to the queue for the humanitarian aid, because the groceries are running out, you stand in line and you hope you don’t get shelled, then you run home, have a quick snack and in the evening, as dad used to say, the "basement race" begins.
If it's more or less quiet at night, you can go into the house and take turns sleeping.
It got more difficult when the gas pipeline and electricity were cut off. Bathing in cold water, eating at the campfire... What saved us was that there was a fireplace and firewood at home.
The days were like in the movie "Groundhog Day": you just systematically did the same thing to survive. Every day you are under fire, every day you see hits landing very close to your home. I didn’t feel like I existed anymore, every day was filled with fear, pain, disappointment.
The first serious hit landed 30 meters from me. I was at home when two ballistic missiles exploded near the church, and the third one didn’t. The ceiling fell on me, the windows shook, and I felt as if my insides had flown out. Everyone was in that state, when you run, not knowing where to go. After we miraculously got to the basement, we started laughing, it must have been some kind of release after all the stress.
In order not to lose my mind, I wrote in notes every day what was happening to me and what I was going through.
And so my hell lasted for a month - until my parents decided to take me and my girlfriend by the scruff of the neck and shove us into the evacuation bus. So me and my friend Nika and her dog Morgan started an evacuation trip to Lviv. We traveled for two days. When we arrived in Lviv, I could not come to terms with the fact that here people live normally and not sleeping in basements, that they continue to work, go for walks, go to shops and halls. When I arrived in Lviv, three people were already living in my apartment. And so there were five of us and a dog in a one-room place. I had friends who also ran from Kharkiv and Lysychansk.
I couldn't adapt to a normal life for about a month: I developed a fear of loud noises, frequent anxiety, and panic attacks. Plus my parents stayed in Lysychansk.
In Lviv, I couldn't live peacefully understanding that while I'm sitting here, people are dying somewhere, that's why I started volunteering: together with my friends, tattoo artists, I started helping with humanitarian aid for displaced people on my own. It worked very well for us. We also brought humanitarian aid to the guys from the "Street Culture" team, with whom we did projects in Lysychansk. In Lviv, they made an urban camp for displaced people.

After some time, when Lysychansk was severely destroyed, my parents were able to leave and come to my place.

Now my city is practically ruined. My school, the House of Technology, where my graduation was held, my neighborhood, where I liked to walk, and most importantly, what I devoted part of my life to - my beloved urban center "Druzhba". russian troops destroyed everything that I loved and valued so much. They killed many of my friends and acquaintances. They left a huge wound in my heart that cannot be healed.

My city has been occupied for more than a month, I don't know if I will be able to return home. Now we have started a new life, trying to let go of the old…

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