Those corpses in the camps of the boy-soldiers: the voices of those fleeing from the “oblast” of Kherson

from Marta Serafini, sent to Zelenodolsk and Mala Shestiryna (Kherson region)

Near Kherson trenches, bodies in the middle of the lawn, women who lived for months in the cellar before fleeing. The tales of the “captain” Oksana

“These are their bodies. The bodies of those dogs. ‘ The Ukrainian captain Andriy looks towards the horizon, loads the machine gun, places himself inside the trench. A hundred meters away, six corpses in the middle of the meadow. They are not even 20 years old. Andriy turns them one by one. They have almond-shaped eyes. He is wearing the blue and white striped T-shirts, the ones that Russian marines usually wear. The disintegrated bulletproof vests are in the middle of the mud of the trench. On the metal plates, the inscription Saint Petersburg in Cyrillic. “They are Buryats (originally from the region between Mongolia and Siberia, ed), those who rape women in Kherson and in the villages are militias that the Russians use for dirty work, ”Andriy says, spitting on the ground.

Alcohol and tobacco

Front line, between Mala Shestiryna and Vysokopillya, Kherson oblast. “Not even the generals dare to come here. They are afraid of being killed ». All around, deserted villages, only a few men to protect the animals. “There are only 50 people left, but there are also women and children,” explains Oksana, captain of the Ukrainian forces, 42 years old. Anton and Artur, farmers, both in their 60s, are displaced from an occupied village. “The first thing the occupants ask for are alcohol and tobacco. They stink, they’re dirty. They are not Russian. Two of them started shooting in the air and took the girls to the basement. Then they went out and shot the pigs. ‘

Maria and the others

A little further north, near the Zelenodolsk dam, policeman Sasha leans the Kalashnikov against the car. He throws the stick at his German Shepherd. Ukrainian artillery roars. This is where Nadiesda, Tatiana, Valentina, Luda, Maria, Tatiana and Alina arrived. “We left at five in the morning from Vysokopillya and Novovoznesenskoye (villages in the Kherson oblast, ed)”. First on a bicycle, with two bags each «all we could take. Cars cannot be used because they are commandeered. Then we passed the Russian checkpoints, where our phones were confiscated. We continued on foot for 15 kilometers, under the bombing ». Now they are sitting in the shade of a willow. Alone, “because men are not allowed to leave the region. The Russians threaten to recruit them and, if they leave, they have to go and fight with the Ukrainians ”. The women are waiting to get on the bus to Kryvyi Rih. They are exhausted. But they find the strength to tell.

“They steal everything”

“We lived in the cellar for two months, without water, electricity, gas and electricity. For food we helped each other between neighbors. The Russians steal everything from shops, houses, then redistribute them to whomever they want ». Maria cries. She is at least 70 years old. “There were the Chechens, but also the men with almond eyes. They are the ones who frightened us the most. They put the gun in the mouth of a friend of mine’s husband. ‘ Stories that bounce from house to house, from phone to phone. They speak of women “raped for all to see. And no one took care of them because the hospitals no longer work ». They report of houses seized by the “occupiers” and then returned full of mines. Kherson on which the Russians are tightening their grip, after having occupied it in the very first days of the invasion. Kherson, where the demonstrations of activists who oppose the invader continue. And where the Moscow military say they want to introduce the ruble starting tomorrow, as announced iyou were by the vice president of the military and civil administration of the region, Kirill Stremousov, just appointed by the Kremlin forces. “The uniform will circulate together with the hryvnia.” Then the Ukrainian currency will become “waste paper”.

Phones and coin

“They have already set up their own telephone network and broadcast their TV channel,” explains a Ukrainian intelligence man. For days, the Russians have been threatening to hold a referendum to annex the city to Crimea. “But the men who remained will defend their homes to the end.” In Kryvyi Rih, 50 kilometers further north on the H-11, military governor Oleksandr Vilkul and Deputy Mayor Sergey Miliutin, a friend of President Zelensky, have a tried face. “We had organized a humanitarian corridor from Kherson, green light had also arrived from the Russian side. Do you know what they did? First they captured the leader of the convoy, then they used the buses with civilians inside as human shields to attack us, ”says Vilkul while the leg under the table doesn’t stop moving. “We have already welcomed 50,000 people. And we will continue to do so ». Under the willow tree, Nadiesda, Tatiana, Valentina, Luda, Maria, Tatiana and Alina look at each other. “We are not Nazis. Why are they doing this to us? »They ask. Towards the front line Sasha scans the sky. The German Shepherd continues to run between the road and the dike. Another rumble. “This blow is coming, better move.”

Black smoke

A few kilometers further on, some abandoned bicycles, a burnt car, a wheelchair and a few buggies. “They are the makeshift means that the evacuees used to escape.” Suddenly Sasha turns around. Another roar and a column of black smoke behind the hill. “It’s been like this for weeks now, this war will never end.”

April 29, 2022 (change April 29, 2022 | 23:00)

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Those corpses in the camps of the boy-soldiers: the voices of those fleeing from the “oblast” of Kherson


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