‘We have little children with grown-up faces’ Ukrainians talk about life in war, help for youngest victims – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — While Ukraine has so far prevented Russia from taking control of the capital Kyiv, many residents of cities in the east are nervous.

Oksana and Dmitry spoke to WJZ from the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro, home to nearly 1 million people.

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blankThe two have helped distribute funds from Baltimore. At this point they have no intention of leaving.

Although there have been some airstrikes, Dnipro has been largely spared – for now – but war is on its doorstep.

“We get air raid warnings every day. For example, yesterday we had three of them and each one lasted two hours – maybe longer,” Oksana said. “As soon as you get a notification, you need to go to an animal shelter. I hope we never see what it’s like to have your apartment building or house hit. But they are crazy.”

Dmitry described what is happening in his country as “just like a bad, bad dream, and I hope to wake up and be like, ‘Oh, it was just a bad dream.'”

Oksana has received messages of support from friends on Facebook she hasn’t seen in years and some she’s never met. “We want to thank the people of the United States because I’ve received messages from the first minute. They get messages of support right away and that’s really important.”

Both have been helping refugees pouring into their east in appalling conditions, including those fleeing the devastated city of Mariupol.

“They say ‘close your eyes’ to the children because they drive through human body parts,” Dmitry said. “Now you have seen what Satan is.”

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Oksana spoke about volunteer centers in Dnipro. “We feed them. Take care of her. They usually stay overnight. Then they head west. We take care of displaced people and there are too many.”

It is the children of war that haunt them. “Today we have small children, but with grown-up faces. They have that grown-up look on their faces. It’s really sad. We have to let children be children.”

She spoke about the support they get from Baltimore. Oksana recently helped with a cash donation intended to buy supplies for young mothers.

She said she had to go to a lot of stores but managed to find items like baby formula that are in short supply. Oksana said the director of a prenatal center was over the moon with what she was able to get, telling her, “If you see something like this, please bring more.”

Oksana prepared the care packages with special messages. “We translated and entered the names of these mothers from the Baltimore community. When you experience that kind of reality, it’s really important to know that people care.”

Dmitry said the support let her know: “We are not alone. Life is not over.”

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“You never know what to expect and it’s kind of the reality of our lives right now,” Oksana said. “It’s so sad that the reality is like out of the movies. It’s real war. We are a peaceful nation and we just want this war to end – to get out of this nightmare.” ‘We have little children with grown-up faces’ Ukrainians talk about life in war, help for youngest victims – CBS Baltimore

Jake Nichol

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