Christian-Zsolt Varga

freier Journalist mit Fokus Ukraine, Ungarn, Osteuropa

2 Abos und 2 Abonnenten

DELFI in Kherson | "I'm still in shock." Occupiers' hellish attack on a flooded city

English translation: 

On the street in a quiet and green "sleeping district" of Kherson you can still smell the burning scent - a reminder of the cruel Russian attack on a civilian house in Kherson just the day before. And this all while Ukrainians were evacuating people and animals from the floods caused by the Kakhova dam explosion and catastrophe, as Russians were withdrawing from the region. 

The eye immediately falls on the upper floors, where the once sturdy facades are burnt and collapsed. In the courtyard below, residents come out of the building entrance and quickly carry packed bags and belongings onto the pavement and the moving van parked next to it.

Tamara, a 38 year old woman stands next to the van that she hastily loads with the salvaged belongings that somehow escaped the blast. "I am still in shock and trying to comprehend the inconceivable events," she tells us. Tamara's family’s flat is located on the 6th floor, just underneath the two floors that were hit directly and devastatingly. "There was an elderly disabled woman living on the 8th floor, and the rescue workers are still searching for her in the rubble," Tamara tells us. 

In the midst of the infernal attack that rained down on them was Jana, the familys 11-year-old daughter. The young girl narrowly escaped death in the next room, just a few metres from where the debris and stones from above hit and destroyed the centre of the flat. While the family loads their belongings into the van, Jana holds a chocolate bar tightly in her hands. When asked about a children's play kitchen with a litter box on top, she calmly replies, "The cat is safe.”

A few moments later, we accompany the family into their destroyed flat. While the family is still carrying out their belongings one of the helpers notices that another fire has broken out inside the rubble. He quickly pours in one 5-liter water canister after another, while Tamara calls the fire department again. Directly in front of the deep hole in the wall, in the abyss of which the fire is breaking out again, the Russian missile still lies on the entrance corridor. Whether it fell through the ceiling from above or was temporarily deposited here is not clear in the rush. Meanwhile, one of the helpers shows us a thick shrapnel from the missile.


In the midst of the chaos, an elderly lady has just climbed the stairs to the 7th floor and struggled through the corridors still slightly flooded by the fire water, the crunch of broken glass under her feet and the acrid stench in the air before speaking to us. She seems hard of hearing and we have to ask our questions very loudly. "I was cooking in the kitchen when the explosion hit. I only noticed it when I saw the cracks on my window," she says in a strained voice. After our conversation, she follows her husband to the flat on the 7th floor, which was miraculously spared. 

Ten minutes later, Tamara, Jana and their family get into the van and leave their flat, their neighbours and their street, finally away from the horror of the Russians coming at them from above, straight into flooded Kherson. 

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