October 21, 2022


Andriy Koval, a former restorer, currently a volunteer


My wife and son left. I am relieved. The last call was at 12:00. Then the connection got lost. At 11:20, the power went out. They are shooting so hard that windows and walls are shaking.


No electricity, no connection. I went to the clinic to ask if there is any help needed. As I was walking back, there was an explosion nearby. My eyes went dark, and I felt dizzy. There is a fire somewhere in the city because I see black smoke in several places. They are shooting almost non-stop.


I woke up at 5:00. My head is splitting. My ears are ringing. There is still no light and no connection. At noon, the water completely disappeared. I’m worried about my family. It was two days without talking [with them]. I sleep in the basement. It seems to me that it is safer there. When I went outside, my eyes started to hurt, although the sky was cloudy. I feel as if I have lost reality, but the smell of war is present: gunpowder and some other metal smell. I peel nuts not to go crazy.


I woke up late. For already three days, I have had no news from my family. I went upstairs from the basement and found out that there was no more gas. The house is gradually cooling down. It’s snowing outside. The worst thing is that there is no gas, as is impossible to cook food. I invented a way to peel nuts easier. The method is effective, but not in time. I quickly cleaned everything. Tomorrow I will make a fire outside to boil water and cook food. I switched to two meals a day to save food.


I slept badly and woke up many times. My feet are cold. It is +8 degrees in the house. Communication, light, water, and gas are still absent. Cooking on the grill is easy if you are smart. The main task is to find a way to keep your feet warm. I miss my family very much. My head is almost not dizzy, and my ears have finally popped. It is good that I live here, at my brother’s place. Because when they turn on the gas, everything would have blown up. I opened the door to let some heat into the house.


I woke up early. I did not want to get up, but it was very cold, so I had to. In the house, it’s +5 degrees. Outside, it is -7. I made a fire to cook breakfast. I decided to go to the clinic again, but everything was closed. At least I found a place where I could charge my phone. So everything is ok. The main thing is to have water and to end this damn war as soon as possible. I found a network and called my brother. I found out that my family had left and was safe. I calmed down. I spend more time outside to catch the network and call my family. And it is warmer outside than inside.


In the morning, it was -9 outside and +2 inside. I made a fire and drank a cup of tea. Then I went to the shelter and helped the locals a little. Brought home some food. I want to hide some goodies for my son. I had lunch with bread (I had not eaten bread for about two weeks). The taste was incredible. I went through the medicines at home. I want to bring them to the shelter. There is no way to reach out to friends. I want to hear that they are alive and tell them where to get food. I miss my son and wife. Every night I look through their photos on my phone. Fortunately, I know where to charge it.


A week since the family left. In the house in the morning, it is stable at +2. Today I will try to make soup and throw everything out of the freezer. I will not need the light then. I will sort out the rest of the medicines and bring them to the shelter because they are needed there. At the same time, I will help.


I came to the shelter, and there is a feeling that more people keep coming. Everyone is looking for food. I noticed that the same people try to take something several times. We have to send them after the [russian] ship. We unloaded some food. A guy came and asked for some baby food and medicine. They did not find anything, but I said that I still had some medicine at home. Then I found some baby food. I found out that there were several pensioners left on the street. I brought them some food from home. I chose food that is easy to chew because they are all about 75+.


Woke up at 4:00, and got out of the basement to do some exercises and warm up. I am waiting for 7:00 to start the fire. The bastards are shooting so hard that it is almost impossible to get out of the shelter. I am waiting for it to calm down a bit because people need to have food so that they do not die of hunger.


I woke up in a good mood, although at night they were shelling so hard that I almost did not sleep. Today is my mother’s birthday. I must not forget to call her and congratulate her. About 1000 people came to the shelter for food, we did not even have time to drink water.


A curfew was announced. Now it’s forbidden to leave the house. The day was not lost in vain. I chopped enough wood for three or four days and unscrewed the lid of the well to see if there was water there. I decided to wash my clothes. I found an old washbasin at a neighbor’s place. It wasn’t easy, but I fixed it and put it near my grill on the street. Now I am a gentleman. I cook food, eat it and wash the dishes at once. The day off turned out to be glorious.


The days are becoming alike. There is very little diesel fuel, so we do not turn on the generator. We distribute the food outside at the entrance to the shelter. Rations are also limited because there is very little food left. No one brings us anything.


I looked at myself in the mirror. It turns out I have a real beard. More and more people come for food. Some quarrel and ask to not give food to other people, so they can get more. Today, I saw two “two hundredths” [dead] on the street. Somehow you get used to it. They brought a wounded man. I found a car and took him to the hospital. Then I was told that we had a great ride under the bullets.


It’s two weeks since my family left. I miss them, but I try to call every day when I have a network. I made an inventory in the warehouse and figured out that the food will last for three to five days. And that’s it. Nothing is brought, although they say that several trucks of aid arrived in the region. I think this is because Irpin is completely cut off from everything. As an autonomous city, we must survive under any circumstances.


There is less and less food in the warehouse and continuously more people. I remember the most impudent ones. I saw an explosion, quite strong. The shock wave reached us. I lost my watch, and now I am afraid to go to bed before 22:00 because I have to take my medication.


The day started with fighting very close to me. I was sitting in the basement. I waited until it calmed down a bit to go to the toilet. I came out, and my neighbors were sitting in the yard, watching what was happening, and reading books. I scolded them and explained that we are at war. I said that if a shell hits, I will not drag them, “three hundredths” [wounded] anywhere under the bullets. If they die, I will bury them in the yard. Two minutes later we hid in the house. Five minutes later, it caught fire right next to us. Another warehouse behind the crossing and something in the center caught fire. Judging by the smoke, there were about three fires around us. In the yard, I found some fragments from a mine or a shell (I don’t know much about it). I hardly get out of the basement.


The shelling is constant, since 8:00 am. Yesterday the “Lira” burned down, today it feels like they are shooting somewhere on the square. Everything around is burning. I have not been going to work for two days. It’s good that two people stay in the shelter at night. There is someone to distribute food.


In the morning, I went to collect water and saw a lot of damage. “Two hundred” [dead] and “three hundred” [wounded] are already commonplace. Today, one guy had his stitches removed, and I helped the doctor. I caught myself thinking that I am no longer afraid of blood. In general, I want to spend as much time as possible near the doctor so that, in case of anything, I will be able to remove shrapnel and properly apply a tourniquet. And to know how to help the wounded. Two shells hit the Popov’s today. It is good that they left. But they have no kitchen, and people will not be able to get water there. Somewhere from the 1st to the 7th line, everything is in smoke. It seems that there is no private sector there anymore.


The morning started with shelling. The first one was at 6:00, and it lasted for 20 minutes. The second one was at 7:00, more powerful, and lasted 30 minutes. According to my observations, different areas are shelled every day.


I felt bad since Thursday. On Thursday evening, a shell hit the neighbors, and half an hour later, it exploded somewhere nearby. I did not have time to react, and I was pressed to the wall by the shock wave. I did not hear anything for almost a day, my head is still buzzing, and my ears are ringing. On Saturday, I tried to go to work but realized that I would not make it. Now I have pets, a cat, a parrot, and a turtle.


They say that the city is completely under our control, but it is a lie. There is fighting on the Gostomel highway (line 11). Humanitarian aid, it turns out, comes to the city, but remains in the church near the passport office. When we asked to bring it closer, for example, to the clinic, they replied that they are not taxis. And today, an 89-year-old grandmother came to us and asked for something to eat. She barely got to us, and there is no way she will get all the way there.


A few days ago, doctors and hospitalists visited us. Now there are reports about them. People continue to come to us every day for food. Communications are not restored. I collected all the tulips in the yard and took them to the clinic to make the doctors happy. I told my family that it was too early to return.

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