Resident of Avdiivka, Donetsk region
Came here with four children (between 13 and 16) from Avdiivka a week ago to Zolotonosha [a town in Cherkasy region]. We took refuge in the basement of a house, it was safer below ground level. We hoped that if the house was bombed, we would survive. Compared to Mariupol, of course, it was better in Avdiivka. My husband works in one of the most powerful enterprises in the region, the Avdiivka Coke and Chemical plant.
Still, we left via Pokrovsk [city in Donetsk region], then Dnipro, and from there volunteers sent us to Zolotonosha. We have no relatives here. A volunteer brought us. They put us up in an inn. Basically we have everything we need for now. The children are not small, so there are no problems with food or nappies. We experienced this at the beginning of the war in 2014. We are worried about my husband, but he has to be at the factory, so that it continues to operate, because it is not completely stopped. The people there live inside the factory, in an air-raid shelter. [On 24 April it was reported that Russian forces fired on the plant].
I remember that in 2014 my family also had to leave Avdiivka when the war started. We went to Sviatohirsk [a town in Donetsk region]. Even then, the war drove us from our homes. And I was worried about our young children. I was constantly looking for baby food and nappies – that’s what other mothers are going through now.
But then, in 2014, after being away from home for several months, we came back because nobody needed us. Avdiivka is our home and we want to be home. Now I had to go back, but we are worried about our loved ones. If we win tomorrow and the war ends, we’ll go home right away.
Despite the war, our company only stopped for half a day on February 24. Every other day we worked, paid taxes and filled in the state budget. We are also committed to volunteering, everyone in the team does what they can.
My wife is a British citizen. The children also have British nationality. But my family didn’t want to leave without me. And in general, wherever you go, it’s not like being at home. But here we are. And, luckily, it’s safe here.
Now we are helping families get to Britain if they wish. People themselves can search for UK families, I just connect them and speed up communication with foreign families a bit, help them fill out the forms.
If the city of Cherkasy continues to be safe, then we will have a competitive advantage that we should use. We need to create jobs here, and that will require meeting businesses halfway, by reducing taxes.
Working with displaced people is another issue. Every person is human capital, and people come here with different skills.