October 27, 2022


Today, the Russian military killed my mother, the person I loved more than my life. In the morning, they started shelling our village. They blew up the military base. The shock wave blew me away from the window. The house was shaken. The electricity was lost.

We went into town to withdraw money and buy food. On our way home, on the way out of Kharkiv, Russian tanks blocked the road. Our car was shot at. We turned to a dead end and jumped out of the car. Two young Russian soldiers, 18-20 years old, who could barely keep their guns, jumped out to meet us.

We sat tight for 15 minutes, then they started shooting at us. My mom got shot in the arm. I heard her scream in pain. And at that time, a soldier threw me on the ground and shouted many times, “Don’t shoot. They are our own.” He shouted to the Russian soldiers not to shoot. A heavy fire started. A dead soldier fell on me. The second one was shot too. My mother was silent. I get up and realize that she is dead. She was hit in the head. I was alone. They were shooting all around, I grabbed my documents and hid behind an iron box. Meanwhile, my Dad was driving from Kyiv at full speed, not knowing that Mom was killed and I was hiding, so that they wouldn’t kill me. I sat behind this box for an hour and a half, afraid to move.

After a while, I hear the shots stop and I crawl to the car and take the shot soldier with me. I turn the car around on the curb and speed away from the scene of the shooting. So I was left without my mother, without Irina Perliphon, whom so many people loved and respected. She was a great example for me in this life. She was a person who never did anything bad to anyone, was very kind and determined, my favorite mother. I’m writing this right now and I’m just crying my eyes out. I don’t believe it. I don’t know how I survived, how I escaped and saved a man. But I couldn’t save my mother. My phone was ringing off the hook. I can honestly tell you that, when I was lying on the ground among the bullets and dead people, I knew I was going to die. This is not a fairy tale, not the news you see, there is real hell going on in Ukrainian cities. This is not even 2014. This is HELL.

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