His friend’s charred body has been lying in the apartment for more than a month.
Bohdan takes us to the top floor of his house. Barely able to breathe, he tells us the story of Serhii.
When the Russians captured the city, he and other men stayed there. Bohdan lived on the 7th floor but would hide in the basement, and Serhii stayed at home on the 8th floor.
Several shells hit the house. One of them got right into the apartment. The explosion was so powerful that it literally shattered the concrete. The man was hiding in the bathroom and was still alive. He tried to crawl to the door, but probably lacked strength.
Bohdan ran upstairs, and broke the door despite the fire, but it was too late. To this day, his body is still there.
Covering him with a white sheet that turned grey because of dirt, Serhii apologizes for speaking badly and asks for one thing — to tell the story of his friend to the world.
We met another local, whose name is Serhii, too, in the next residential area. He points at the basement where 20 people have lived for more than a month. And he is very sorry that it is not cleaned up. Inside, there are torn mattresses, a toilet bucket, and plastic wrap: in the cold, people covered the rooms with it and would warm the place with a burner. Outside, his brother Oleksandr fries potatoes — there has been no gas or electricity for more than a month.
At the beginning of the war, there were three brothers. The youngest one, Dmytro, was killed. After the occupation, a curfew was imposed in the town. From 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. Dmytro was literally a few minutes late. He smoked a cigarette and was already on his way to the basement when the gunfire hit his back.
His mother, Maria, heard all this happening. Showing the photos of her son, she can barely hold back her tears, pressing her hand tightly against her face, and petting her cat with another hand.
Dmytro was buried near the house. The three of them, the mother and two sons, were digging fast. They also left there the sheet on which they carried Dmytro.
When we were leaving, Maria thanked us and gave us a hug.
The stories of small neighborhoods with big people who speak quietly, but every word sounds like thunder — that’s the tragedy of Bucha. The stories of the people who weren’t supposed to be there. Who they tried to erase. But they survived in spite of everything. They do not follow the UN sessions. It is difficult to explain to them what other arguments are needed for the world to perceive what is happening in Ukraine. But each of them would be worth hundreds of those who have the right to speak there.
Today they are addressing to the world. But they are addressing without anger and hate. The tragedy of Bucha is a humanity test for all of us. And if they were able to maintain the most precious thing in their hearts — we will be able to do it as well.
April 8 at 12:35 a.m. · Bucha, Kyiv region
Ukrainian Text by Oleksiy Pshemyskiy, translated into English by Ukrainianvancouver team — Apr 14, 2022