This beautiful cheeky guy’s name is Ivan. On March 16, he turned four months old.
Vanka [another name for Ivan] met a small and, at the same time, big date in the dark basement of one of the houses in the Primorsky district of Mariupol. Like many other Mariupol residents (and Ukrainians in general), Ivan’s parents thought that the rashist attack on the city would end quickly.
Like many others, they decided not to leave the city, which would soon become a hero city. Since August 2014, Mariupol has been unaccustomed to the constant noise from the east: sometimes louder and sometimes quieter. So was this time. There was a lot of fuss in the first days after February 24, and then there seemed to be a lull. Why run?
But the actions of the occupying psychopaths are impossible to predict.
In just a few days, communications, water, and electricity were lost, followed by gas. The shelling did not just intensify – the rashists began to brutally destroy the city, which in the last three years has become more beautiful than ever.
Primorsky district was more or less lucky compared to the Left, the center, and Azovstal. It wasn’t fired at as much. But here, too, rashist planes dropped several bombs, and the ground around was in funnels from artillery shells.
Ivan’s parents, along with other residents, periodically came out of the dark shelters. After spending the night, everyone’s nostrils were black with dust and soot. Vanya’s regime was cut short. Not understanding if it was day or night, the boy slept chaotically, which exhausted him, his parents, and neighbors in the basement.
People from the surrounding houses gathered together, lit fires, and prepared food which they had stored in advance and brought from the nearest shops. Vanya had an advantage: fortunately, his mother always had breast milk. You could at least not bother heating the mixture over an open flame.
On March 17, the word of mouth brought rumors: people were trying to drive their cars to one of the nearest villages and further towards Berdyansk and Zaporizhia. It turned out that the green corridor was very close. Ivan’s parents’ car was working, apart from a broken by an explosion windshield. But compared to the cut, mutilated, and burned cars around, it was like a gift of fate. They hastily grabbed the collected things and the stroller and jumped in the car: dad, mom, Vanka, grandma, and a cat. They passed an endless route out of town. And then every kilometer they faced checkpoints. And on each of them, the Russians meticulously checked the documents – as if something could change a kilometer away.
Late in the evening, the family drove to the Dnieper on the remnants of fuel to where their godparents, also from Mariupol, had already rented an apartment.
Vanka was washed from the basement dirt and changed into clean clothes. His mother was able to quickly adjust to the new environment. Her natural optimistic flexibility, sense of humor, and openness helped. And together with her, her son calmed down too. The normal change of light and darkness established sleep. The clean and warm child again began to lick his fists with pleasure up to his elbows and laugh when his father circled him in the air.
But his grandparents on the mother’s side still couldn’t be reached. The other day, they left one of the shelters on the left bank with a group of people, but walked not towards the occupied parts, through which you can evacuate to uncontrolled territory, but towards their own home. What is with them today is still unknown. But Vanka is not worried about them yet. After all, he is only four months old. And he is also my cousin, whom I held in my arms for the first time today. We did not meet in Kyiv, where I have lived for a long time. Not in Mariupol, where my sister always lived. But we met. Face to face. With his little fingers grabbing my big thumbs. Toothless smile to a bearded smile.
Live happily, our beautiful. We will do everything possible for this.