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Chronicles from Odesa – Diary of War

13.05.2022 | Nick Tomilin — No comments
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On February 23rd, 2022, our MKQ member Stephanie Huegler contacted her friend Zhenia, an LGTIQ* activist in Odesa, to ask her how she was doing. There were rumors about a war that would begin – and it did begin! One day later, like many other Ukrainian cities, Odesa was first attacked by the russian army.

Above Potemkin Bridge. Photo: Maksym Pozniak-Haraburda / Unsplash

Over time, Zhenia and Stephanie stayed in close contact via WhatsApp. These are the messages Zhenia sent. They are like a diary of a horrible war inflicted by Russia on the people of Ukraine.

We are constantly updating this blog. Most photos are from before the war when Steffi was visiting the city with Munich’s queer choir Monadessa. They are pictures that seem unreal today. Though, we have recently added some shots from the present. What has this war done to beautiful Odesa?

June 15th, 2022

Many busy days in preparation for the trip, buying tickets, arranging routes. I am very much looking forward to meeting everyone, waiting for you to hug you and be able to relax in a calm atmosphere.

Today is the first day I returned to the office, now I can work at my usual place before the trip. I am thrilled to see a few colleagues who stayed in Odesa – some have already returned. I really missed the office atmosphere. Although the office location is not very safe, many people are still nearby. We have a separate shelter in case of an air alarm, as well as Queer Home is in just 15 minutes walk. Today I had to give people food kits straight from the work office. I am glad my colleagues accept this, although I don’t name the organization where I volunteer.

Odesa by night. Photo: Geio Tischler / Unsplash

It is quieter in Odesa now. I hope that it will stay that way while I am here and that when I am abroad it will also be calm and I won’t have to worry about my family, colleagues and volunteers who will stay in Odesa.
With warm hugs and love from Odesa.

May 31st, 2022

There are some quiet days in Odesa, we can even plan something, but we know that it is due to the increased intensity of fighting in the Donbas. All our thoughts are with them now. It depends on how the war will go on. But we already know about the countless civilian casualties and destructions. Dozens of towns and villages are razed to the ground.

Garden in Odesa. Julia Rekamie / Unsplash

I managed to get several days off at work, avoiding coming out. I am not open to everyone in the office, but those in Europe and who are LGBTIQ*-friendly, are invited to the Pride, where I will be. We’re all missing each other terribly, two-thirds of the team went abroad, and we have no idea if we will see each other again. I hope for a productive, saturated, but safe trip, long-awaited meetings, and new connections for Odesa.

Looking forward to seeing you, much love and hugs from Odesa.

May 26th, 2022

We are watching the crisis with grain and salt very closely here. In Odesa, any salt has disappeared from the shelves. We know that there will be new deliveries. Still, we understand that prices will increase several times not only in Ukraine but also in many countries. I once worked for an export company and was shocked to learn how much Ukraine sells abroad. It seems that we ourselves did not realize before how influential and essential we are to the whole world and how much trouble in Ukraine can affect the global catastrophe.

Street in Odesa. Photo: Suspilne Odesa

Russia is taking away from Ukrainians things that we thought we definitely owned and that people usually don’t even think about. This was the case with the ongoing food crisis (I again had to hunt for some products for kits, visiting several stores), with the opportunity to work, earn money, travel, and plan life.

The Russians have deprived many of the chance to make their dreams come true, to buy something that cannot be taken with them during the evacuation. They deprived Odesans of the opportunity to go to sea. To glance at the sky, looking at a cloud that looks like an animal, not a piece of iron that can kill. Many people all over Ukraine were deprived of even sunlight since so many people lived in basements, subways, and bomb shelters for weeks. We were so rich, it turns out, so carefree. I don’t know if we can get it back.

May 18th, 2022

The days have become a little calmer, and people are gradually returning to Odesa. However, the Odesa region is shelled every day. Right now, sirens and air alarms are all over Ukraine. And so it goes every day. We already know for sure that the coast will be closed this season. Even if the war ends tomorrow, demining all territories will take several months.

Yesterday, the Russians killed a driver who would have taken a guy out of the occupied territory who turned to us for help. Several cars with volunteers and people who wanted to go to Ukraine were fired. Most people inside are dead. We do not give up hope of finding another opportunity, but sometimes it seems that we cannot help. I couldn’t work yesterday. I just sat and cried. And today, I went to the city center to send food to those we can get in touch with. We cannot give up on those who need a helping hand.

And when I returned home, it started to rain, and a rainbow appeared. Although IDAHOBIT was yesterday, I received congratulations today.

Rainbow above Odesa. Photo: Zhenia (the blog author)

May 15th, 2022

Now we have probably the quietest period since the beginning of the war – sometimes, not a single refugee arrival. And we are out of money. Since direct donations from individuals are usually small, they are quickly spent. We publish posts, make reports, and draw attention to fundraising on social media. But it does not help much.

Yesterday was quite a busy day – I gave food kits to people who came to the city center, and we sent by mail products to those who live in the southern regions. Yesterday, there was a volunteers’ meeting since the sets are pretty heavy and require a helping hand. I am happy that there is still someone to turn to for help in Odesa, and not everyone has left for other cities or countries.

The situation with war fatigue is quite clear to us, so we understand the reduction in donations. We all would like to forget about the war, wake up one morning and learn that it was all a nightmare, that thousands of people didn’t die, that dozens of cities were not destroyed to the ground. But for now, we wake up from the sounds of explosions, sirens, or notifications from people who need help with evacuation, food, or a place to hide.
Thank you for all your care and desire to help. It is crucial for us to feel the support of our loved ones. Many hugs, hope to see you soon.

May 13th, 2022

Tomorrow I will send more products by mail and give some in person. Unfortunately, the mail didn’t accept the package for the guy I told you about last time. Now they don’t go to the occupied territories. We are looking for an opportunity to transfer products, but we can’t find any yet. There are only a few drivers who cross the front line, but they are carefully checked; they need a lot of documents. And sometimes, such drivers are taken prisoner or killed. This is a perilous job. And so far we can’t find a person who would be ready to go there.

Monument to Duc de Richelieu. Photo: Suspilne Odesa

May 12th, 2022

Despite this, Odesa remains a region that welcomes refugees and helps other regions. Today I will send a grocery kit to a guy living in the Kherson region. The russians occupy his village, take men to fight for russia, and catch them straight on the streets. So this guy has to hide as he can’t leave because he will have to cross the front line. The enemy army takes food from the occupied territories, steals from shops and warehouses, some to feed the russian soldiers, and some to send to russia. They want to repeat the scenario of 1932 when the Ukrainian people died of starvation because the russians stole all the grain, searched houses, and took away what people grew on their land.

We hope that those products will arrive and he will be able to live a few more weeks while looking for an option to get to Ukraine. It is good that we can save people thanks to donations from the GAU fundraiser. However, these products were purchased from the donations that were made earlier. Now our stocks are running out. Currently, there are almost no new donations, and I don’t know what we will do if they stop. We all repost here and ask friends and other organizations to spread information because every contribution is essential.

So, for now, we will work with providing products to Odesa and the southern region controlled by Ukraine. The number of requests has dramatically increased. So far, we have had the opportunity to help.

May 10th, 2022

That night was terrifying. One of the most powerful russian bombs, against which the air defense is powerless, struck 3 km from my flat. The building shook as if it were a house of cards. There are no windows in the homes nearer. There are also injured and dead. It was a large shopping center and two stores that didn’t want to stop doing business in russia. Now they will have to stop doing business in Odesa because the bomb they financed destroyed their warehouses and retail space.

Aviation has been heard here since yesterday. It is never clear when it is ours and when it is hostile.

However, it is still not as scary as our expectations from yesterday. There were rumors everywhere that on May 9th, Putin would announce a general mobilization in Russia or put out a nuclear bomb. We are scared, but we are alive. And we have high hopes for US aid, which Biden signed yesterday.

May 8th, 2022

In the last few days, the shelling several times a day has intensified overtime before May 9th. Tomorrow is a curfew in Odesa. We will again be forbidden to leave home or stay in a bomb shelter for a day and a half. I will stay in my apartment since my bomb shelter is close enough.

Yesterday I was with my parents, we heard the work of anti-aircraft guns, and then several missiles hit on both sides of the house. They say there were 4 or 6 of them. Though, as they say, no one was killed, windows got broken in nine apartment buildings.

The russian army is unsuccessful in the south of Ukraine but is shelling us from its territory and continues to intimidate Transnistria. According to some rumors, russia may attack Moldova soon, which may drastically escalate the problem.

Passage. Photo: Anni Lonko / Unsplash

April 30th, 2022

Now russians shoot almost every day. Fortunately, most of their attacks were repulsed, but it couldn’t just go without sad news. Today I went to the market for vegetables and sat down on a bench near the house to bask in the sun. The weather is so lovely in Odesa now that you don’t want to go inside. And then I’ve heard three explosions. Very loud so that people could hear it all over the city. And later, the air sirens and screams of the people who ran towards their homes. I also went up to the apartment then saw smoke in the sky in the window, but there was no fire. Today they hit the runway of the airport. It is very pity. A brand new airport opened just last summer, and it was a costly and long-awaited project. But fortunately, none of the people were injured. On May 2nd, the government forbids going outdoors in Odesa. This restriction was due to the significant threat of provocations and attacks. Yesterday, police caught a group planning mass riots on May 2nd, but they may still have accomplices. So from Sunday evening to Tuesday morning, we will sit at home and hope for the best.

Odesa Opera. Photo: Stephanie Hügler

April 24th, 2022

Yesterday was horrible – I saw a rocket fly overhead and heard a whistle. The destruction was far from me, but it was an area where I spent much time. N. and I lived nearby a mile away from my parents’ house. At night, Russia fired two missiles at Yuzhne – there is a plant with vast reserves of ammonia. Fortunately, our air defenses knocked the missiles down, but the threat remains.

In the house that got struck lived a man that worked in my favorite cafe. With his wife, they had a baby in January. Last Friday, his wife was collecting water for Mykolaiv (the city neighboring Odesa on the North – there has been no water since April 12th because of rocket fire – they can’t fix a water supply system because there are constantly shooting).

Yesterday the man went to the store, and when he returned, his wife, mother-in-law, and daughter were dead. This is Odesa. Everyone here knows each other. And it just doesn’t fit in my head.

Despite the smoke and explosion nearby, my mother continued to bake Easter cakes. Yesterday many Telegram channels posted about the russian army being unscrupulous – people bake Easter cakes on Saturday, and now the dough will fall because of the explosion sounds.

MES is still dismantling the blockages, and it is unknown how many people are under them.

By the harbor. Photo: Stephanie Hügler

April 18th, 2022

It is quiet in Odesa for now, but primarily thanks to our air defense. Almost every day, something flies by, our air defense system hits something, and explosions sound somewhere. In the city center, the government removed some blocks and “hedgehogs” as they would send them to Mykolaiv, where attacks proceeded. No one’s relaxed – combat readiness remains.

Great relief was the sinking of the “Moscow” cruiser  – this is the same one that was asked to go “fuck itself” at the beginning of the war. There are still many ships in russia, but it was the largest and the most important one – their flagman. It seems that our military knows how to control ships, even if they are hostile.

Thanks for the suggestion on the blog! I’m not sure of my abilities, but I’m glad you think I’m capable. Fortunately, the situation in Odesa is not as dramatic as in other cities. Still, if you feel that some of what I wrote earlier could be interesting, I’m not against using it for the site – maybe I could review and add some points.

Thank you for being so caring! It’s touching and significant to me. Many Odesa hugs, much love!

City center. Photo: Ddddddarya / Unsplash

April 12th, 2022

I see it necessary to record my experience during the war, even if it is not combating. We must not forget all this; we must carry and pass on its memory.

We had pretty anxious days. For example, the city officials restricted leaving houses on weekends for a day and a half. The constant threat from the ships in the Black Sea. It is unknown where the troops will go after the North of Ukraine. Everyone agrees that they aim East, but they also talk about Odesa. Recently, russians attacked a military unit near Odesa, where many soldiers died. We see their photos and read biographies. Most of them are 18-20 years old boys.

Also, it seems that tonight russia used chemical weapons in Mariupol. Thus, I couldn’t sleep almost all night (usually because of air alarms, but today because of many intrusive thoughts). The information needs to be confirmed, but I hope no one got hurt and the international community will eventually respond. According to some estimates, up to 20,000 people died in Mariupol. It is unknown how many victims of the chemical attack were.

I was happy to see photos from the meeting in Sub with people from Odesa. I am pleased to see that these people have received support and can be safe in a friendly space.

Refugees from Mykolaiv began to arrive in Odesa. It is the nearest big city to us that intensely suffers from attacks now. Over the weekend, I gave a grocery set to a guy who ran away when a shell hit his neighbor’s house. I am glad that we made a small stockpile of humanitarian aid in the Odesa Queer Home. However, the fundraising has slowed down, so it is still difficult to imagine what we will do when this stockpile ends. So now we are happy for every donat that comes.

Funicular. Photo: Stephanie Hügler

April 5th, 2022

Hi! Thanks a lot for the link shared! And for everything you do for Ukraine and for me.

Oh, the night was not so quiet, russians tried to attack twice, but there was no success thanks to our anti-aircraft warfare. But this is still a loud thing. Most Ukrainians staying here now have their personal “war shazam” – it’s when you recognize the type of attack and if it’s needed to go to the shelter. Our system is not so good so far, but we’re learning fast 🙂

Thanks a lot. I don’t need anything for now, really. And I know that I can contact you if I ever need it, this is much appreciated.

Market in Odesa. Photo: Stephanie Hügler

April 4th, 2022

I’ve spent this night in my bathroom. Russians attacked again this night. We all are shocked now with stories and pictures from Bucha and Irpin, and the government said that another town, Borodianka, is even worse. I just can’t believe my eyes. There is no international law anymore, no rules or conventions.

April 3rd, 2022

I could not sleep at night. Only about 6 am began to fall asleep. The first explosion was like thunder. Yesterday it was raining, and I thought it was just a thunderstorm. And then my table started shaking. So I jumped out of my bed to the window. I stood and watched as rockets flew and first flashed of fire and then loud explosions. They destroyed an oil depot and several other facilities in the city. as far as I know, all people are alive and unharmed. But the fire is still burning. There is a lot of smoke, and it is difficult to breathe in the city. An hour ago, the sky was covered so densely that it was as dark as evening.

Potemkin staircase. Photo: Stephanie Hügler

April 2nd, 2022

Well, we’ve had a bit of a loud evening. Got three bombs near Odesa launched from Crimea. Somebody was injured, but as I know, the russians’ key goal was more dangerous and crucial, so that’s not the worst situation. Also, there are some movements in Transnistria – an occupied area in Moldova. But I am trying my best to believe experts say Transnistria is so poor that “they only have three buckets to make noise.” But anyway the news are not so good. Russians are leaving the Kyiv region. It seems like they are searching for new adventures or, rather, a place to die.

That’s so right to have a party now and enjoy your time! Sometimes I miss the times when all my problems weren’t about bombs, negotiations, refugees, and all the war staff. Our mental resources are also crucial for Ukraine. Here everybody who can do this tries to save and increase them.

March 23rd, 2022

My parents are one of the calmest people I know here, despite the problems with work – my dad’s department stopped working when the war started. My mom will stop working in April, as her hospital has informed her. The government says such employees will get their salaries as they should be, but there’s no guarantee. My grandma is really angry and upset. She’s never expected another war after WWII. No one is going to leave as long as they have their house. Plus, it’s illegal for my dad to leave Ukraine.

Arcadia. Foto: Anna Koval / Unsplash

March 19th, 2022

My apologies for the delay, the days were too busy, and some nights before were too loud. Russians are attacking from the sea, but now there are rather phycological attacks – they’re demonstrating how far they can shoot.

Thanks a lot for all the support you provide. The situation in Kyiv is becoming more challenging, so they need more and more support. GAU also helps people from all over Ukraine, especially from the most damaged cities. Their stories are shocking. But I’m proud of being a part of such an initiative, brave and glorious nation.

March 16th, 2022

Today I heard the siren of an air alarm for the first time. Someone in my area broke the speaker a few days before the war – I’m sure it was done on purpose, and, of course, we’ll never know who did it. Here people usually learn about the alarm from telegram channels. There are also special applications on the phone. I typically miss sirens. This is bad because each instance can appear fatal. But now, russia’s strategy is to send their reconnaissance planes at night so that we can’t sleep through the sirens at night for three hours several times a night. So, while Odesa is safe, I appreciate the opportunity to rest.

I spent this day in the gau office and did a few races for food, we already have a few ready-made kits, but some products have to be well hunted.

Today two fighters were shot down near Odesa. Their crew went to feed fish. It is a popular joke that we will have very fatty and large fish and mussels in the Black Sea after Ukraine’s victory.

Russian ships also shelled the Odesa region. As far as I know, no one was killed, but civilians were injured, and buildings were damaged. All our beautiful city center is now in fortifications, anti-tank hedgehogs, and fences. A few days ago, I took a taxi, and through the blocked streets, we had to go around many blocks. It was like a city tour. I looked out the window and tried to remember Odesa as it is now. After all, Russian bombs are not ashamed to destroy old architectural masterpieces or simple apartment buildings with sleeping children. It is so absurd, so vile, that there are no words.

Amusement Park. Photo: Stephanie Hügler

March 14th, 2022

I’m worried about the news that Germany and Poland are already overwhelmed with Ukrainian refugees. I sincerely hope these people will soon have the opportunity to come back home but for now, be polite and nice to countries and people who opened doors for them.

I was awake at 6 am this morning because of the explosion sounds. No idea what that was, but fortunately, there is no news that somebody was killed or injured in Odesa. Yesterday russians attacked a polygon 20 km to NATO borders. I hope NATO is going to react. It’s a bit obvious for us here that if we fail this war, putin will attack other European countries next. Seems like he’s crazy enough to do that.

I’ve spent my weekend collecting food kits for humanitarian aid for Queer Home. It’s already a quest – no deliveries are working now. Some shops don’t sell products in large amounts, so we had to return several times to buy 20 bottles of oil. We’re preparing for the scenario with empty shops.

Sorry to hear that about your family. Hope they’ll get better soon. Hug to you and Angelika! Thanks a lot for everything.

March 11th, 2022

Sorry for the delay, had some busy days.

Thanks a lot for your care. I don’t think I need something now, but your support makes me stronger every day ❤

It’s quiet in Odesa now, but sometimes we see russian ships or planes looking for information here. And the news isn’t good, but we also hope some of them are russian lies. Will try my best to answer more often!

Thanks a lot again. Much love from Odesa!

Colonnade. Photo: Stephanie Hügler

March 9th, 2022

It is still relatively quiet here, but we every day hear the news that we are next. Seems like I’m a bit used to shelling sounds now.

I’ve seen MKQ posts on Instagram, and I’m delighted that now information about Ukraine can be shared widely. We can’t let people in the EU and USA forget about us while russians are bombing our cities. They kill our soldiers, citizens, and children, seizing our nuclear power plants. They are torturing its staff, leading to the worst environmental catastrophe of the century after Chornobyl.

March 7th, 2022

Russia attacked the village approximately 10 km from my house. Seems like nobody died or was injured, but the sound was horrible. It was several bombs. I’ve heard two explosions. It’s not the ones you hear only with your ears – it’s something you feel from the floor with your toes. The nearest city to Odesa is under attack for three days, but our army beats the russians quite successfully. I hope they’ll keep doing it well.

We’re waiting for negotiations results too now, but, as it’s popular these days to say so, there’s no god but our army.

March 6th, 2022

People are holding large rallies in the occupied cities to keep Russians out of local administrations. Sometimes they go against tanks and machine guns with their bare hands, only with flags, and with great fury. In some cities, locals manage to drive out Russian invaders, but there are many casualties among the local population. There is news that the Russians are shooting down sleeping areas, civilian cars, and humanitarian corridors, which were agreed upon in the talks only a few days ago. Today, President Zelensky said that they would soon attack Odesa. It is still unknown how true this is and when it will happen. Still, four enemy planes have already been shot down over Odesa yesterday and today.

I feel a little confused, but I try not to panic and believe in our army.

Fortunately, my house is quite solid and secure. Yet, the current GAU office in Odesa is also suitable for a few people to hide and live there. Of course, nothing has guarantees now, but I can hope for a few places in Odesa where it can be relatively safe.

My grandmother has just turned 85, and every movement is challenging for her. The parents decided to stay at home. They tried to persuade me to move in with them, but I refused until there was a critical need. As I was at my parents’ house, a plane was shot down right over Odesa. I felt the house shake. It’s more dangerous there than in my apartment building. In addition, there is no internet, and it would be complicated to work from there. So, I’m staying home for now, but I’m trying to figure out a few options, depending on how things go. Thank you very much for the invitation and your care. It is very important to know that I am not alone.

Odesa by night. Photo: Geio Tischler / Unsplash

March 5th, 2022

I’m visiting my parents today, preparing for a difficult conversation. But I don’t know when I can see them next time.

The night in Odesa was quiet, but russians attacked a small village near the city. Everybody is alive, fortunately.

I hope to visit your concert one day – sounds amazing! Much love from Odesa. Thanks a lot!

March 4th, 2022

Just got to WhatsApp. Three close to me persons left today. News about Odesa is becoming more and more alarming. It seems that the enemy is concentrating its resources in our direction. I try not to panic, but I feel very tired of the news and the constant need to make decisions.

I am so grateful to you for this support, your fundraising, and for spreading truthful information about Ukraine. The world must know the truth.

March 3rd, 2022

Once again, I apologize for the delay in response – a lot of work. The situation now is yet calm but still anxious. I try to fill my head with something to distract myself from the anxiety and constant surfing through the news feed.

The Russian army is getting closer to Odesa – analytics are optimistic, but today russians have sunk an Estonian ship. I hope that NATO plans to respond to this somehow. Our air defense systems shot down one plane and one huge and dangerous bomb today. Several villages in the Odesa region were shelled.

It’s better to ask the GAU office in Kyiv for comments now – they have information about the regions. They also recently launched a fundraising website. In Kyiv, they organized a shelter for people who had nowhere to live or nothing to eat. In Odesa, we are collecting requests for such assistance, but so far, the opening of a shelter here doesn’t make sense. When the need arises, I will take on the role of coordinator.

Thanks for the news about Olga. Now I am happy for all the people in the safe. Nastya and I will see each other tomorrow – she will return the keys to her apartment so that I can pass on what is left there to the army and volunteers. In particular, food, clothes, her laptop, etc.

As of today, I am convinced to stay here. But I understand that this can change at any time. Rumors about the list of activists who will be killed in the first place are growing louder. Maybe my name is there too. Maybe there are the names of people close to me. But most of all, I believe that we will not find ourselves in the occupation and that Ukraine will survive and win. Although we are under a lot of pressure, we are attacked not only physically but also informationally. Today, for example, the russians hacked several sites in small towns and announced Ukraine’s capitulation. The president’s appeal that he is betraying Ukraine also spreads through the network. We do not believe such information, but it still causes pain and concern. Warm hugs from Odesa – the hero city! Thank you again for your support and constant contact. I try to answer as much as I can.

To the Leman. Photo: Julia Rekamie / Unsplash

March 2nd, 2022

Today Russian plane attacked the Odesa airport, and their ships are heading to our shores. Our troops are ready to meet the guests. There are billboards and graffiti with the well-known phrase “Russian warship, fuck you.” I hope they read it and do it.

As for zoom, I now work until seven in the evening, sometimes later, until ten. Remote work in low concentration conditions requires more time. But when I know about the free evening, I’ll be happy to let you know. I would be glad to see you in Zoom.

March 1st, 2022

One military base near Odesa was attacked at night. I’ve heard someone was killed. Small towns nearby are also being attacked. I think I hear explosions now. It’s snowing here. I hope this will cause trouble for the attackers.

I am delighted to see support from you in these times. Sometimes it seems that everyone has abandoned us, that we are utterly alone in this war, but your support gives us strength and helps us survive. The enemy wants us to be afraid, panic, and give up, but we won’t do him such a favor.

It became a little quieter in Kyiv, but the shelling was terrible last night. The primary victim now is Kharkiv – residential areas are being destroyed, and many are injured and killed. As for Odesa, there was a storm and strong wind for the past couple of days.

If you have Telegram, you may also use this channel. It’s the official source
Ukraine Now German

Arcadia seaside. Photo: Stephanie Hügler

Later in the evening

Oh God, I’ve just started crying. I was surprised to see you and Kamil on Instagram. Sorry for disturbing you. And I also would like to say sorry if I skipped some info from you. As I personally noticed, and my friends here have noticed it for themselves too, it is difficult to focus on something and pay enough attention. I guess it’s because of information flow. Feels like we have that covid thing when people forget small things such as “what am I doing right now” or “if I even had a breakfast, what was it.”

February 28th, 2022

We had several attacks yesterday and today in the morning. As I know, our army succeeded in all of them. It seems like some of our politicians will meet russians today for negotiations. Some of us want them because they can stop the war, but some of us are afraid because cities such as Odesa or Kharkiv can be “sold” to russia. But we still believe in our army and president Zelensky.

My mother worked on Saturday, and her next shift will be on Wednesday. Still, today I already saw the medication call for her hospital. Now she stays at home with my father and grandmother. As far as I know, her hospital is quite well fortified and has an accessible bunker. Of course, they let everyone go home, but the children are born at any time. All hospitals are now on high alert. There are sufficient blood reserves almost everywhere. However, there might be a shortage of medicine. Some donations are collected by hospitals. Some are sent directly to soldiers because it is still winter. Those soldiers forced to spend the night in the field or in cars get colds as a result.

Yesterday, our Minister of Health published an appeal to foreign doctors inviting them to come and help us!

Odesa Military Hospital is the largest and best equipped in the south of Ukraine. They’ve got the most seriously wounded since the beginning of the war (8 years ago). So now, despite the lack of active hostilities in Odesa, our doctors are rescuing the wounded from other areas. At this point, everything appears to be much harder than at the beginning of the war, when the wounded were sent by plane. All aircraft are banned, and cars are often fired upon, including ambulances. But those soldiers who are taken to Odesa receive proper help from our doctors and clothes, food, and medicine from local volunteers.

Currently, the main fighting in Odesa is aimed at catching saboteurs and paratroopers and shooting down russian planes. It’s scary to be too optimistic, but our air defense system is doing well. Of course, we will then have another big task to clean the sea from this scrap.

Inner courtyard: Photo: Dmytro Kharytonov / Unsplash

February 27th, 2022

Hi! The night in Odesa was quiet, but there was still an absolute hell in Kyiv.

Thanks a lot for the info! I still want to stay in Odesa, but it depends. But thank you again for the care!

February 26th, 2022

In the morning

At the moment, I’m in the queue for blood donation. Yesterday almost 400 people donated here. This night was quiet, too, with only one attack at nearly 6 am. The main fights are still in Kyiv. Thanks a lot for your support!

Later in the day

There was an attempt to attack Odesa, and we got into the bunker just while donating blood. Fortunately, the hospital had a good shelter with enough space for everyone. The doctors worked professionally to help everyone who needed it. We heard information that the blood center in Kharkiv was attacked, and even people died there. Not that I was surprised by the violation of the Geneva Convention, but the situations with blood centers, orphanages, and ambulances being attacked clearly show that the russian army has completely lost its conscience.

There are problems with transport, pharmacies, and supermarkets, but I know that things are much worse in Kyiv. They are not allowed to go outside from 5:00 pm until Monday morning. Here today it’s from 7 pm till 6 am. They may stay at home or in any safe space. If there is a place in the bunker, they can stay there, but they don’t have enough room for everybody for sure. The government said that everybody outside during the lockdown would be considered a saboteur. You can leave the house only to follow to the nearest shelter in case of an air alarm. It is obligatory to have identity documents with you. Also, some people will have permissions, such as police, soldiers, “teroborona” (territorial defense), etc.

After a photo was sent from a demonstration at Stachus / Munich

Oh my God, this is where I took my very first photo of Munich. Hope to see it again. Hope to see and hug you again!

Fairground on Derybasivska. Photo: Stephanie Hügler

February 25th, 2022

Hi! I am really sorry for the delay. I’ve tried to reach a clinic to donate some blood for our soldiers. There was a huge queue, which is good, of course. This means that Odesa people are not ready to give up, no matter what. The night was quiet, there were main fights in Kyiv now, but we were prepared for everything.

The bunkers here are small. Most of them are closed or damaged, so I’m going to hide at my place. Maybe I’ll move to my parents if the situation becomes really hard. But now I can stay in my flat, and I have some friends living near me to hide together and support each other.

Unfortunately, I haven’t donated today, but I’ll come back tomorrow morning. Many people here are also joining the local military crews (we call them “Teroborona” – the territory defense). Maybe I’ll join them very soon.

February 24th, 2022

As I wrote, it was calm yesterday. The war started this morning. We hear explosions ourselves – the Odesa region was attacked. We see soldiers on the street, and the Internet and mobile communication work poorly. We keep calm, hide in homes, and I will work remotely. But it’s terrifying here.

Regarding the Pride: In 2020, there was an attack, and then there were victims of the marchers. In 2021, the police repulsed the attack, and the radicals fought only with the police. We hear the bombs. The first attack from the sea was unsuccessful for the invaders. Now they are attacking military facilities, airports, warehouses, etc. But the houses nearby are also injured.

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