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Bilovol Yulia



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.

I was 17 years old. Now it is difficult to remember everything in detail, but I can recall some things. An ordinary day, I'm sitting in the yard with a friend and then I see a car stop. People with masks on their faces and weapons come out of it. I remember my stupor and thinking: "Who are these people? Why are they armed and wearing masks? Should I run away?” We got up from the bench and quickly left. A few hours later, my mother called me and told me to go home quickly, that something bad is starting to happen in the city. I didn't know much about politics: 17 years old, you know, teen age, new discoveries, a new life after school, admission to a higher institution. But when you see a tank on the streets, you understand: your world is changing. For some time we were in the city, it was restless, I fell asleep hearing the explosions. After a while I got used to it. For some reason, I had no fear, maybe because of my tendency to romanticize everything at that time. I remember going to bed and thinking: "If I'm going to die, I'm going to die." I still remember one fragment: when my girlfriend and I were returning home, we were in a hurry, because the curfew had almost arrived and a military man came towards us. He stopped us and asked: "Why are you walking alone so late?" - we answered that we almost got home,  that we were in a hurry to get there before the curfew, and after those words came a very important question: "Do you know who “yours” are?" And I couldn’t differentiate between camouflage back then. Can you imagine what I felt? There is a man standing in front of me with a weapon and he needs a correct answer from me, and I don't know what to say. We just answered: "For there to be peace and quiet."
The summer was restless, as I said, we slept to the sounds of explosions, many people came to Severodonetsk from neighboring cities in search of housing and peace. Unfortunately, that's all I remember.

"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.

When the city got liberated, life began to recover little by little. More people who moved from hot spots appeared in the city, I entered a university, then I started working, found my love, moved away from my parents, searched for myself and made plans for the future. The war was now somewhere “over there” and I thought that it was all a game of politicians, a way to pump money. I grew up, my views changed, I got more involved in everything. When I found my occupation and started working for myself, I began to communicate more with people. I heard many stories from those who were left with nothing in 2014, but unless you end up in such a situation yourself, you cannot feel this pain physically. You can only sympathize. That's how I lived, knowing that the war was somewhere out there, not near. Although I was very wrong. From 2014 until now, I knew who “ours” were and who weren’t, and I never wanted to move to russia, because my home is Ukraine. My house, which has now been razed to the ground, my village, where I spent my childhood, is getting destroyed by missiles, forests are burning from the hits, people are putting them out themselves, because the fire can spread and then they will have nowhere to hide. 

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?

The morning of February 24 began with the words of a loved one: "The war has begun, we are packing" I'm in shock. I call my parents and tell them that the war has started, we have to go, and I hear in response that they will not leave, because there is nowhere to go, that they will sit it out that there is no safe city now, because they attack not only from our side; they say that they will be fine. I try to persuade them, but it's all in vain. I am torn by pain and the decision that must be made: either we stay in the city with my parents, or we go somewhere into nowhere. I start to get hysterical,  my boyfriend tries to calm me down. Calls from his family, hysteria, I can't make a decision. Time is running out, his family is already waiting for us to leave, and here I am standing at the threshold of my apartment. I have a suitcase in front of me, in which I have to put everything I need and my whole life. I cry non-stop. Turn off gas, water, plugs from sockets. Pull yourself together. We are leaving. We drove in a convoy, there were many cars on the way, news on the radio. I can't believe what is happening. Tears, the voice of the radio, the news feed on the phone.


Did I believe that a full-scale war would begin? - No. Until the last moment, I didn’t. I tried to keep calm, although everyone had been in an anxious mood for a week. I worked from morning to evening, just in case, I took the device home with me, on which I worked for about a week. I remember that on the 23rd, after the end of the working day, I was exhausted and broken. Because every conversation with the client was tense, everyone was afraid and felt terrible.


Now I am in Chernivtsi. I am trying to restore my work and somehow earn money, but the pace is very slow. I want to move to Kyiv because my sister is there and I think my business can do better there.


It's hard to think about the future when people are dying every day. But my goal is to see my sister more. Moving to Kyiv doesn't seem like the best idea right now, but I can't stand it anymore without my family, without my relatives. My parents, by the way, were in the end stuck in the occupation (it's a long story) because my grandfather was very sick and there was no one to take care of him. But I believe that the day will come when I will see them. Alive and healthy. Exhausted by what they experienced, but happy to all meet together again.

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