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RFE/RL journalist Maryan Kushnir helps evacuate a woman from Vovchansk

13.05.2024, 17:22

Radio Liberty journalist Maryan Kushnir helped a local woman leave Vovchansk (Kharkiv oblast). He reported this on Facebook and shared the details with the Institute of Mass Information.

"Vovchansk. Kharkiv oblast. It's hell. Artillery is razing everything to the ground. The little houses are crumbling, the stench of gunpowder lingers in the air. One missile after missile. Moving from street to street is a gamble. They shell everything indiscriminately," the correspondent said, describing the situation in the town.

He noted that the civilians who had no time to leave before the occupation in 2022 are leaving Vovchansk en masse now.

"Nobody wants to stay. Everyone knows what may come. Vovchansk is all tears, pain, fear, and much more. The Ukrainian Armed Forces are fighting on the town's outskirts, but this matters none to the Russian army, so they're ruining the entire town. House by house. There will be a lot of grief there... and people are leaving. And I did take one lady with me today," Kushnir wrote.

In his comment to IMI, he said that he traveled to Vovchansk with Volodymyr Chystyakov, a volunteer from the charity foundation "Unity and Strength", which is working to evacuate people together with many other volunteers and the police.

"He was driving a minibus, and I was driving my car. Our reasoning: we'll have more seats this way. That is, I'm not taking up a seat in the minibus – I drive my own car, and people can sit in my car. Not everything went according to plan, because they started shelling the place heavily," the correspondent said.

According to Kushnir, he and the volunteer were approaching a house where people have requested evacuation in advance when a woman approached them and asked if she should evacuate.

"She has been living with her son in Kharkiv recently. But she visited her home for a few weeks. To do some household chores, bring medicine to her neighbors, etc. That's when the advance of Russian troops caught her. When she asked if it was dangerous enough to leave yet, I said yes, get in my car, there is room there. She quickly got into the car, and we later drove to the evacuation point. Her son was to pick her up later," the correspondent added.

As IMI reported, in November 2022, Radio Liberty correspondent Serhiy Horbatenko evacuated an abandoned dog named Adik from Drobysheve village near Lyman (Donetsk oblast).

The dog's owner left for Russia with the occupiers as they were retreating from the village.

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