«There Is No Electricity, For Water We Go to the Neighbor Because the Dog Drowned in Our Well»: Residents of the Ukrainian Shchurove about the Destroyed by the Russians Resort and Survival

On September 17, the Armed Forces of Ukraine raised the Ukrainian flag in the resort village of Shchurove near Lyman of Donetsk oblast. This enabled the battle for Liman, which had happened already in October. However, the deoccupied territory is in terrible and shocking condition — the Russians destroyed the possibility of the financial existence of the village.

Residents of the Ukrainian Shchurove speak about the destroyed by the russians resort and survival

Today Shchurove is almost an abandoned village. Hostels within the village did not survive the occupation — nearly all of them were hit by the shell. Some are completely gutted — only ruins of previously prosperous houses remain: fragments of boards, crumbling brick walls, or completely burned-out premises.

Locals who returned to the village used to receive huge benefits from vacationers at hostels. Tourists bought vegetables and fruits from them, and spent weeks and months on vacation. Now this is all impossible — gutted houses are unlikely to be reconstructed, forests are mined by the Russians and are too dangerous for walking even on trodden paths. The coastal zone is similarly dangerous — despite the work of sappers, the experience of the past years since World War II shows that many explosives are still hidden from the eyes of sappers and the sniffing of service dogs.

The resort will be dangerous to visit for a long time

«Why the hell would we need Russia here?»

As of now, local residents are boarding up shuttered windows and broken doors on their own. The summer, the night heat, and the fragments of the gutted greenhouse help — its pieces were needed to repair the house, which miraculously survived the battles for the Lyman area.

«I had a greenhouse. It was hit by the shell, so the place was blown to pieces. The glass that survived and was in stock was taken out — I inserted it into the windows of the house because all of them were either missing or cracked so if you touch them — they will crumble. I got bad eyes, so I can’t see the numbers on the tape measure at all. Therefore, I cut the stick along the length of the glass, try it on the window, and cut along it. And step by step reglazed what was possible. It was exhausting…

I covered the roof with the remains of the same greenhouse, repaired the barn a little with what has left," Volodymyr, a resident of Shchurove, says.

His mother, 70-year-old Halyna, left for Kramatorsk during the occupation. Volodymyr was in the Dnipropetrovsk region, in Kryvyi Rih. When the frosts subsided, they returned together to the liberated Shchurove in May.

Now it’s quieter in the village — explosions can be heard, but it doesn’t reach the houses. That’s why the 35 residents who returned to their homes are starting to rebuild their houses gradually — they also plug potholes with wood, disassemble gutted house extensions, and use them to «rebuild» the main house. There were problems with glass — because most of it that were available was shattered during the occupation and deoccupation. That’s why some windows in the village are boarded up — «both for safety and for warmth.»

There are many mines and shells everywhere

«No pharmacies, no shops, the mail reaches here by some miracle»

Volodymyr, while telling how he has to live after «liberation», throws up his hands: all around is a wasteland and gutted houses. Under such conditions, all institutions that successfully operated until 2022 are unlikely to resume work in the near future. Therefore, there are no pharmacies or shops in the village now. The main source from which people can get food is a humanitarian truck, milk, and bread, which are delivered regularly. The rest has to be mail-ordered—he's lucky enough that his family can buy and ship cereal, medicine, etc. here.

«Mostly I have to go somewhere or order from friends — they send from Kramatorsk and Slovyansk. Whoever has a car drives himself. A list of needs is collected by everyone who is here, then a car full of goods arrives. But this happens very rarely.

Humanitarian aid is brought two or three times a month, and bread is delivered once a week. It happens differently. Medicines, by the way, are also brought with the humanitarian. But it is common painkillers, antivirals, etc. And I have had diabetes since childhood. I need insulin — there is none of it, I have to search for the medicine by myself, order it. But I have reserves, so it will be okay," the man says.

Volodymyr, a native resident of Shchurove

«No water, no gas, no electricity — these bastards «freed« us from everything»

Survival in Shchurove, even in spite of the humanitarian aid and some medicines, is difficult. There is no electricity, water, or gas in the entire village — everything has been destroyed by rockets, electricity poles have been knocked down or broken. Because of this, the most important thing — light — has not been there since the de-occupation. It is still dangerous to lay new lines — unmined forests, close to the front line — this actually makes some work impossible. So residents have to come up with something which can at least somehow provide the usual amenities.

«There is no gas. There is water in the neighbor’s yard three houses away. We go to her with buckets and collect water there. Use it to wash something and to cook food. We have a boiler, but without light, it doesn’t work. We also had a well, but during the war, in occupation, the dog fell there. We don’t know whether he drowned or fell there dead, but the water is not drinkable now. That’s why we don’t have water.

And the dog also died in the house. He ran into the house, opened the closet, and probably died there. Was lying down when we got home. When we arrived — the stink here was terrible!.. That wardrobe was thrown away, the house was ventilated since May itself and we are still ventilated, because the smell is… terrible.

There is no light either — we were given a solar battery, from which we charge our phones and a lantern.

Oh, how many people used to be here before the war — Donetsk, Bakhmut, Lyman, and all nearby cities were here. And no one was asking Russia to come! Although I was born in Russia, I lived a life here, there was a forest, a river, water, light, and gas. Everything was," Volodymyr spits, shaking his head in the direction of Russia.

Despite the inconvenience, Volodymyr and his mother stubbornly declare: they will not go anywhere from here. The only option when they are able to leave again is occupation, but they are sure that this will not happen again.

«This is my home. Here is my mother, my river, my forest. Well, where do I go? Here is my everything. The Russians are the ones who should not be here, so let them go to hell from here,» Volodymyr says.

A house destroyed by shelling

Volodymyr’s mother Halyna

Houses and places of rest are broken

Author: Alina Yevych

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