top of page

War Diaries

February 26th, 02:27 pm. ·

Day 1

At first, it is terrifying. A fighter plane was spotted in Kremenchuk. You're on continuous alert for a strike. You listen to every buzz (of the water heater) and whistle (of birds). You write to friends from Kyiv, Sumy, from other cities. And they write to you. You shiver at every dubious noise outside. You wholeheartedly wish for the Armed Forces of Ukraine to withstand. Insomnia creeps in. In wait for strikes.

Day 2

In the presence of mind, but still with some weight on it. You feel short of breath, so acutely, that you can barely walk from the store back home. There is a piece of news about the demolished bridge. There is the angelic face of the boy who blew himself up along with the bridge. You crack up, you burst into tears, but later something very repose-like settles over you. You breathe. That's the way hatred for the occupiers' flares up. You sleep.

Day 3.

Absolutely in repose. Kyiv and just about every Ukrainian city is a hero city. You've already got used to constant news-watching, information checking. The Armed Forces of Ukraine is my army, Ukraine's my love. The occupiers will get fucked before they get my home.

February 25th, 08:57 am

Fragments from yesterday’s conversations:

- Paratroopers were noticed at Poltava.

- Well, the last Battle of Poltava is what they'll get.

February 27th, 07:38 pm.

A good lot of people keep asking why the Russians come to Ukraine to certain manslaughter, what for God’s sake was on their mind… but I hardly wonder. Once, they placed their hands on Crimea quite effortlessly and took it for granted. Beyond that, propaganda plays its role. Beyond that, the age-old terror felt before their petty king, so immense a terror that it is easier to believe in the lies of their princelet than to raise against that beast of a man. Beyond that, some attempts of self-justification surfacing—to suppress the sense of guilt (sense of guilt, though, is alien to them, their absence of dignity is inborn).

But in general, they really conceive of Ukraine as a fake state. Why wouldn't Ukraine defend Crimea, then?

Of course, now you are reluctant to clarify something for them. And for us, it is a lesson for the future. Any violation of the borders should be addressed immediately, for that reason the army must be always strong and prepared. Otherwise, the enemy will further spread like a pest across the territory.

And yes, Ukraine will win a victory. Ukraine's winning a victory right now.

February 27th, 07:43 pm. ·

Day 4.

Recollections of Kherson. What a tranquil, serene resort of a city it was... hard to imagine what's going on there right now. Recollections of Askania-Nova. Berdiansk. Mykolaiv. Odessa. Yuzhne. Zatoka. Vylkove. Someday I'll definitely visit them again. Give a presentation there. Go for a seaside holiday. It’s evening now. The first time I’d had to hear the wailing of a siren and hide. My pup takes everything for a game and won’t let me get bored.

My mind is empty -- except for the wishes for those disgraceful bitches to be constantly liberated as they're liberating us, to be constantly crawling in their basements. All-clear sounded. The mirror reflects a broad smile, the one I've never registered in myself before. Not even a smile. Not even a grin. It's a leer. Seems to me, I'll snarl anytime from now on.

Day 5.

A business trip. Medical examination. Accounting department. Siren. The nearest bomb shelter is in a kindergarten. It's been a while since I sat on a child’s chair. The chair's comfortable. All-clear sounded. Accounting department. Siren. Kindergarten. All-clear sounded. Accounting department. The documents, finally. Queues to the pharmacies and to the stores. Home at last. Making a pie. My mind is filled with "nice wishes" to those fuckers.

March 2nd, 10:37 am

Day 7. I was to hold two presentations today. I was to see my friends. I am confident that I'll catch up with all that later.

Everyone I meet has had a change in their eyes. Their gaze. Anger. Fury. Pang. Shock. Faith.

Thoughts about my generation. Recollections. So much to go through... So many revolutions, now -- the war... my generation, my toughened generation, no time for idling.

I'm doing my best to write something. To distract me. It's of little avail. Yet.

March 3rd, 11:56 am

Day 8

The Writer's Day.

As a writer, I must combat my fear, so that at least some words can be found. Everything is still stirred up inside me, but I've already grown calmer. Calmness is worse than hatred when channelled towards enemies. It’s like burying the living for good because they’re dead for you. They set in to wipe out my people, all at once threatening to do so with all the world. They are already walking dead, even though they're still treading on our soil.

As a writer, I'll never keep silent about the war, for others to know and remember it. It's my duty.

March 4th, 10:34 pm

Day 9

I'm watching my eggplants, my pepper, and the only thing living in my mind is this: this land was meant for love. This land was meant for love, God damn them.

It's not even something of patriotism. It's more profound a feeling. A quiet feeling. It whispers about past life, it gets you ready to face up to the upcoming challenges. Recollections of the past mingle with the images of the present day, blood mingles with the spring. There are bombs somewhere gulping in the air before exploding. There are raging vicious dogs having seized the nuclear power plant. Whereas here, in the Poltava region, the soil's sucking in the fury of the spring to burst out blossoming. Except that the occupiers won't get the flowers -- not even on their graves.

This land's meant for those who can love. Those who can love and not for those who fuck around.

March 5th, 08:03 pm

Day 10.

Sleet. News about the war and small victories. Analytics. Finally, I was able to give a thought to my manuscript, wrote a few more lines.

No idea how long this blood-spilling "special operation" will last. I'm setting myself for the fact there won't be any fast solution to it anytime soon. More terrorist attacks are likely to happen. Threats, blackmail. The enemy expects the people to panic and flee, yet we may see its complete misunderstanding of the Ukrainian mentality, and its blindness to the immense distance we moved away from the Russian Federation.

And now we flip off the whole of the Russian Federation, sending it right after that Russian ship.

Life goes on. Even in times like these.

March 7th, 09:37 am

Day 11.

Finally, I could tear my eyes from the news, reminding myself about another life. I was able to play with my pup. I was able to knit.

The bloody war continues, the longer it lasts, the less fear you experience. You get used to everything. Even to the brooding silence, which descends upon you while you're sitting and waiting for upcoming calamities.

Nevertheless, we're winning a victory. We're not giving up. The euphoria has already vanished, and an iron-strong motivation was born in its stead.

The motivation to watch less news -- to go more about your business. The motivation to be confident in our defenders, our guardian angels. That's what holds the ultimate importance.

March 7th 12:18 am

Day 12.

A large sabotage and reconnaissance group has been eliminated in Kremenchuk, with more than 10 of those orcs captured. Broadcast on the news.

What else is there to say… They got a warning: you’ll meet death here. And only death.

March 8th, 08:04 pm.

Day 12.

An attempt to recollect what March 8th celebration looks like. Discussions about the war. Attempts to change the subject. It’s no use, discussions about the war go on. Nothing but a speedy victory -- all I can think about.

I'd written earlier that Poo-tin makes a poor strategist, or to be more precise, that beast is not a strategist at all. It inhabits the world of its own creation, cut off from reality, and that is why it is losing the war. Its gang of an army can successfully be deployed solely in the Russian Federation, owing to the fact that they're a bunch of slaves – not a nation of free people.

Sometimes I come across the things the Russian authors produce. Guess what they suggest to their fellows in the RF? Passing danger time in the cellar. Biding their time. My disdain grew stronger when I read the reflections of one such birdbrain Moscow author: it is only the succeeding generation that will leave an apt description of the current events, let the present generation recount for the pre-war epoch in Ukraine. And he called it the post-Soviet era.

As for me, it's sheer cowardice -- to keep silent about the current events and attempt to shift responsibility completely to the succeeding generation.

And I do agree, if the former Russian era was a post-Soviet one, the current epoch must be called neo-Soviet. The iron curtain and the wall -- what more is there for Russians?

March 9th, 03:35 pm

Day 14. Two weeks have passed. Two weeks of waging war against a coward and a brute of an enemy, who calls a war fraternal love. The two weeks of terror, hatred, faith, hope, confidence.

They should have been the weeks when I would discuss new books when I would give presentations and make trips, the weeks when I would prepare for the Book Arsenal in Kyiv. Instead, more than 3000 Kharkiv residents have already fled to Kremenchuk, to say nothing of those coming from the Sumy region and other places.

Dozens of new ads on the Viber -- showing up almost every minute -- people are in search of apartments. In search of something they at least could rent for a month. New and new questions -- they're asked almost every hour -- about the way of getting to Lviv. To Warsaw. To Prague. Two families of my Kremenchuk acquaintances are on their way to the West -- I see why -- they are the families with kids.

It has never occurred to me that I personally will have lived in the country in a state of war for two weeks. That I will be monitoring the news. That I won't be crying over them... Except for that one time... I'm looking at my grandma whose childhood bears witness to WW2, at another grandma whose village could have been under the thumb of Germans if Stalingrad had been seized. Both grandmas are the children of war. And by a twist of fate, I myself have to bear the persistence my grandmas beamed with. They managed to survive all the horridness, Hitler and Stalin both. We, too, will manage to survive that Poo-tin. Surprising as it may sound, those are my grandmothers who I look up to nowadays, their lives and biographies is what inspires me now. The memories about my two great-grandfathers, their parents reported missing during WW2. All of that keeps us afloat.

As the saying goes, we won't shit ourselves.

March 10th, 07:17 pm

Day 15.

No sooner had I been through with my short story, that the siren screamed, reminding of the ever-present war. Having left the cellar, I went on to have a meal and...

For me, peace equals to the black olives I used to buy in pre-war times, in some other life. I finished up the last black olives today. A peculiar feeling: you have been able to treat yourself to mackerel, to lettuce, to chocolate... but the black olives from the past days are gone. Black olives will be different from now on.

One more thing. Last night, I was dreaming about the war for the first time. Well, nothing unexpected in it -- the war has penetrated everywhere.

March 11th, 07:55 pm

Day 16.

By chance, I came across the magazine with my text published in it... Kharkiv is Ukraine. 💪

Someday I'll be able to utter some more words. Someday I will be able to describe the whole range of feelings and emotions... All I can say for now is: don't forget about the blackout, take care. Love. ❤️

March 12th, 08:10 pm.

Day 17. It would have looked like an ordinary day hadn’t it been for the siren: its wailing disrupted my sleep and I awoke from a strange dream.

I was dreaming of Germans coming to Ukraine as if they were approaching my house, and I thought: there we go, WW2 broke out. You could hear tension shivering in the air. But all of a sudden, Germans beamed at me, started greeting me, and peace came about. And relief—it, too, did.

I can not imagine what that dream of mine may mean and why it was Germans that I was seeing. As the song has it: everything will be happy-end-ish. The good doesn't win solely in fairy tales.

March 13th, 2:32 pm

Day 18. The spring in Ukraine is a thing to experience.

March 14th, 9:29 pm ·

Day 19.

Everyone I'm talking with is frustrated with Russia. We want to have lives of our own, but Russia's everywhere, enough of that Russia, Russia go follow the Russian ship.

And so much hurt. And so much love. So much care and understanding.

March 15th, 07:55 pm

Day 20. How many more of those days will there be?

I took a little rest from the news -- a lot of daily chores have piled up. Casting glances at a few websites was enough. From what I perceive in people: they are in two minds -- to leave or not to leave the country. The most wearying feeling is to be all packed and ready in anticipation of something... what to anticipate? I personally try not to look ahead of it. It is as it is. In the meantime, I'm observing. It does good to go outside and listen to the birds chirping. To see the first blossom. The sun.

Spring and War -- the two words rhyme in Ukrainian.

March 16th, 06:40 pm

Day 21. Spring is more and more tangible, though the air is still chilly. I'm trying to discern what would be of the flowers, sprouting with green leaves.

Are they daffodils?

I'm asking myself how to write about this time. About life in the rear, although front lines now seem to be everywhere. I feel that my hand will soon be reaching for the notebook. Again. I'm trying not to brood over its usefulness to the readers. More important, is to feel a desire to bring something into existence. Just the way Spring brings flowers into the life of Ukrainians. 💛💙

Ukrainian Text by Alisa Havrylchenko, translated into English byUkrainianvancouver team – Mar 23, 2022

Recent Posts

See All


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page