Myroslava Trofymchuk from Krasnohorivka (Donetsk oblast of Ukraine) is facing the war for the second time. She and her large family have lived in the front-line city in recent years, and in 2018 she moved to Kyiv to study. Her family had been living on the front line — a film was made about them called «The Earth Is Blue as an Orange». Myroslava shared with journalists of «Vchasno» about life in Lithuania, further plans, and her return to Ukraine.
«Fireworks and firecrackers in the capital of Ukraine made my blood cool. That's why I will probably never be able to answer the question about the existence of a peaceful life, because the war erased most of my memories,» the girl recalls.
She was worried not about herself or her family, but about people who didn't know what war is
In February, Iryna Tsilyk's documentary «The Earth is Blue Like an Orange» premiered in Lithuania, starring Myroslava's family. The mother and children moved to Kyiv a week before the full-scale invasion. The escalation on the front line began some time ago, and it was very dangerous to be there. The city no longer had electricity or water, and it was almost impossible to cook. Myroslava, living in the capital, was already preparing for war and felt its inevitability.
«At that time, me and most of my friends from Kyiv were already preparing bug-out bagі. Every day we talked with friends about a possible full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. Everything became clear when Russia recognized the independence of the so-called „DPR / LPR“, and for me, it was another turning point,» Myroslava says.
Despite everything, she does not lose hope to return to her native Ukrainian Donetsk and stand with the Ukrainian flag on the square, which is her biggest dream.
On the night of February 24, the girl woke up from internal anxiety, and when she looked up on the Internet, she saw terrible news about the beginning of the war. All the last days, when Myroslava and her family walked through peaceful Kyiv and enjoyed every moment, ended because the war began all over Ukraine:
«Above all, at that moment, I was not worried about myself or my family, but about people who do not know what war is, who can act wrongly due to panic, and pose a threat to themselves in the first place. My heart rate was 140, I didn't know what to do, and a few seconds later I heard a familiar sound and unfortunately, it wasn't the sound of an alarm clock to wake up and understand that it was not a dream,» the girl says.
The first day of the war was spent on phone calls to relatives and constant reading of the news, and Myroslava really did not want to evacuate somewhere far away. However, because of the little children, the family had to leave Ukraine because their safety was more important.
Giedre Zickyte, co-producer of «The Earth Is Blue as an Orange» film, contacted the family by phone to discuss an evacuation plan for Europe. Sister of Myroslava’s mother, Aunt Olga, stayed in Krasnohorivka and for some time did not want to leave the city, citing her unwillingness to abandon her property.
We had nothing to sleep on in the subway, we took only two blankets for 8 people
For the first few days in Kyiv, the family hid from air strikes and rocket fire in the subway, where they even had to spend the night.
«We didn't have anything to sleep on in the subway, we only took two blankets for 8 people. Although I could not fall asleep, I saw people around me crying all the time, and the men were drinking quietly to calm down. Fear and pain could be seen in everyone's eyes. I wanted to help people somehow, but I didn't know exactly how. The minutes were like hours, I didn't want to eat, drink or sleep. I just wanted to see the sun and shout very loudly, because my life, like the lives of most Donbas residents, has been broken by Russian aggression for the second time,» Myroslava recalls sadly.
We were usually silent all the way, it was not a travel trip for us
A few days later, Myroslava transferred money for the needs of the military, and on the same day, the family went on an evacuation train to Lviv. The editor of the film, who became a very good friend for them, helped the family get to the train.
There were a lot of people at the station, and as many as 17 people were in the carriage. During the trip, Myroslava did not think about the things she could hardly take with her, but about the same Ukrainians who lost their lives at every moment and about the cities that were destroyed by Russian missiles and bombs. Arriving in Lviv, the girl met her last Ukrainian dawn.
«The next morning we went to Poland, and a week later we were in Lithuania. We were usually silent all the way, it was not a travel trip for us. Despite the war, we are trying to continue living daily life in Vilnius,» Myroslava says.
We walked and sang the anthem, and my hands and knees were shaking terribly
In Lithuania, the Trofymchuk family could not find the strength to walk in the forest near which they lived, because they spent almost all their time rereading the news and making calls to friends and relatives in Ukraine. After some time, the family settled in the Lithuanian capital, with the help of the film's co-producer Giedre Zickyte.
The children started learning the local language and went to a local school, and Myroslava entered the Lithuanian academy for two months and managed to work on three projects.
In the beginning, it was easy work — to bring something or rearrange it in the chamber department. But in the last project Myroslava worked as a video assistant, was responsible for monitors on the set, and was able to gain important experience.
Very soon mother's sister, aunt Olga from Krasnohorivka was able to join the family, so now they are all together. In Lithuania, Myroslava was able to find new friends with whom she managed to take part in actions in support of Ukraine.
«The first is in support of Mariupol/Azovstal near the Turkish embassy. The second was in support of Ukraine and took place in the center of Vilnius. We walked shouting slogans and singing the anthem, my hands and knees were shaking terribly then, but above all, I was overwhelmed with pride and love for my Ukraine. Ukrainians, Lithuanians, and Belarusians took part in the action, shouting about their independence. In Lithuania, there is a road sign to Kyiv — 779 km, and to Minsk, which is occupied by Moscow — … km,» the girl says.
Myroslava was unlucky to meet Russians in Lithuania who came into conflict with her. Near the Russian embassy, two women expressed dissatisfaction with the name of Heroes of Ukraine Street, as well as a large number of billboards about a Russian warship and offensive posters about Putin.
Another woman and a man tried to continue insulting Myroslava and his family, claiming mythical fascism in Ukraine and tried to seek protection from a police officer who was nearby. However, the passionate speech of the Russians ended after the girl's question «Why aren't you in Russia?». However, these are isolated cases, as Myroslava says.
«It all overlaps, because there is very strong support from the Lithuanians around here, I see that they love us and know that they and our independence were given and are given to us at a very high price. Lithuania has its own slogan „Your freedom is our freedom“. They always treat it the same way, that they will help to win over Russia and thus their freedom depends on our victory,» Myroslava shares with us.
About further plans and return to Ukraine
Although the girl currently says that she likes Lithuania very much, she still feels like a guest and there is a certain difference in character and even mentality. Quite different feelings will await her in Ukraine, as Myroslava plans to return to Kyiv on business one of these days. One of the first is to physically get her diploma, which she remotely defended in early June. However, above all, the girl wants something different.
«I have no answer „What will I do in Kyiv“. Enjoying my native land is the simplest answer. Most of all, to enjoy my favorite food, to see people closest to me, to walk my native streets, to communicate in my native language. I will do everything that I haven't felt for four months — that is, to feel at home,» the girl concludes.
The family does not make plans for the future but simply waits for the opportunity to return to Ukraine, because, as they say, east or west, home is the best.