“Mom, are you going to war?” How a Russian woman carries humanitarian aid to Donbass and Zaporozhye

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Weekly “Argumenty i Fakty” No. 32. Take a check per capita 10/08/2022 Plot Women in the war

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In the middle of March, a white truck left Crimea for the first time in Kherson region, in Genichesk. Its driver and  companions saw with their own eyes how our air defense worked on flying Ukrainian missiles.

Then the road turned out to be long along the Kherson region and part of the Zaporozhye region. Since then, there have been several dozen trips. The border guards began to recognize the “weird girls”. One is driving, sometimes another one or two are in the passenger seats. In body — collected humanitarian aid. That same girl driving — Valeria Petrusevich, mother of many children, co-founder of the Goodness of the World — Volunteers of Crimea» (the largest non-profit organization in Crimea), told us about these trips.

Calls with threats

Natalia Dremova, aif.ru: — Valeria, it wouldn't be more logical to accompany guys, because among volunteers there are strong men?

Valeria Petrusevich: — Men take longer to get tested. And                 are already accustomed to    , they have ceased to be surprised that    is driving     The border guards are very friendly. Customs — too, but they have such a job, they must check everything thoroughly. Every time you have to unload the car, open all the boxes and & nbsp; boxes, show what's inside. When we get to the border, everyone who passes control gathers to our truck to help unload and load        strong>

— When I first arrived in Melitopol, the day before the bridge was blown up, checkpoints were being shelled. Arrived in the evening, had to stay overnight. And for my family it was the most exciting night: I left, there is no connection — Mom disappeared for a day… But my husband understands that I can act now in a different way. Children are also accustomed to: “Mom, are you going to war?” — “Yes, I'll be back soon!”

— A How soon can you turn around?

— Depending on which route. You can drive to Melitopol in five hours. To Mariupol to one way — 8–12 hours, so we are going there for several days. There are a lot of holes, craters from shells on the roads. Now several roads from the other side are covered with asphalt, perhaps it will be better.

Checkpoints, the road is controlled by our military, and I know that nothing will happen to us. And & nbsp; if there is something unforeseen like a Ukrainian sabotage group that broke through, the arrival of something long-range & nbsp; & mdash; it whether it is driving or someone else.

— What surprised you most during during your first trip?

— As soon as you cross the border, a message comes to your phone. Something like: “Russian man, a lot of people have already died here, even more will die, come back …” And this psychological pressure is annoying. Then the phone starts ringing from calls allegedly from Austria, Hungary, France, Great Britain. You can’t answer: they will say some nasty things and write off a huge amount.

— What are the moods in Mariupol?

— Locals want peace and stability, opportunity to work, live without fear. And Russia can give just that.

My Ukrainian friends write to me about how they were struck by the start of the special operation: why, why, everything was fine! But I was in Ukraine in the past years, I saw that Ukrainians, in fact, were immersed in a state of war with Russia.

Not so long ago, children from liberated territory — their parents sent them here for a while. We learned that the guys need stationery, board games. They brought it. They are all in the dining room. As soon as they ate, they got up. The teacher reminds: what should I say now? Crimean guys, “old-timers” boarding school, of course, shouted “thank you.” Children visiting suddenly in one voice: “Glory to Ukraine!” This is on the machine, as usual. Children 5–6 years…

— During your travels, did expect negative reactions from people?

— It was unexpected that people who survived the shelling, loss of housing, relatives, met us with joy. You see, when life is at stake, a person “rolls back” to momentary needs that will allow you to live this day, then the next. Food, water, shelter, medicine… That's what matters. When you sit in the basement, and            exploding shells above you, you do not talk about geopolitics. We brought groceries and medicines. And we were welcome.

— What did they say about our military?

— Only the good. How the Kadyrovites gave their rations. And they allocate food for one fighter as for a whole family with children — great quality set. They tell how the Dagestanis carried water in armored vehicles. How Russian soldiers shared food: they took just enough for themselves to eat, the rest they had was handed over to the people sitting in the cellars. strive to support each other?

—             displays the best and all the worst that is in     Yes, they helped each other out, stuck together, shared.

But and it was different. One of the refugees we taken out of Mariupol said that she and two children went hungry for several days.                             did  When in the basement, where about 60  ""squares" about 200 people, food began to run out, the woman and her children were no longer fed. She brought nothing! She was forced to leave, to go to other people's apartments to look for at least some food, water.

Dandelion borscht

— What else struck you when you first visited Mariupol?

— The first time we were there in May. Imagine: you are walking along the street, along the yard, and on a box on the it is written: «mine». People everywhere covered the found ammunition with such boxes. We don understand all this, and they warn “come in large numbers”, inexperienced.

Then there were mountains of plastic bags … There was no water, the sewerage did not work. People on the toilet seat unwrapped the bag… Then they threw it out into the street.

A huge number of graves in yards.

But on the next visit, it was clear what changes had taken place. The rubble is being cleared, a lot of people have come to help, the voice of the inhabitants of all regions of Russia is heard.

There is a lot to be restored there. And  the people of Mariupol are most of all worried about winter, the restoration of electricity and water supply.

— Tell the most positive story you ever participated in…

— We we always shoot something during during our trips. Of course, we ask the consent of those who get into the frame. In one of yards there was a grandfather in such a video. And when we posted this video, we were contacted… by his relatives! Grandfather is over 80 years old, he lived in the area of ​​the Ilyich plant, on the outskirts of Mariupol. When the fighting was going on, he, along with his neighbors, hid in a bomb shelter. And from there, Ukrainian soldiers transported people to Drama Theatre, which, as it was later reported, was blown up by the nationalists.

Grandfather was with the neighbor all this time. She survived and told her relatives that he was in the Drama Theater and died. And the old man survived the explosion, and then he was sheltered in one of basements, a few blocks from the old house. Relatives, of course, would not find him in a half-million ruined city — And here is our video! They went to Mariupol and picked up my grandfather.

— Are do your friends and acquaintances feel the same about what you do?

— Some understand what i do in the current situation what i think is right. Let us and perceive and differently this very situation.

But our task — to help. Everyone…

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