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“Damn Russian soldiers killed my two nephews!”

Ukraine
Elena Klimenko left Ukraine with her 11-year-old son Grill. Photo: Elizabetta PQ

“This is genocide, fucking Russian soldiers killed my two nephews! They are 3 and 15 years old! Please let Europe stop this massacre! ”

This is a voice of despair Elena Klimenko, The 38-year-old I met when I arrived in Kiev two weeks ago, with whom I spoke on the phone this morning. Whose story am I writing now to continue the increasingly tragic, indescribable, brutal, terrifying war.

I met Elena last February 23rd on a Ryanair flight that took me from Rome to Kiev. Like I said My first note about this coverage, In it I described her Gucci bag, the iPhone watch she had on her wrist – her elegance – Elena was returning with a friend from a long weekend vacation in Rome when they found some very cheap tickets. A weekend in Rome turned into a nightmare for both of them on Monday, February 21, as the winds of war began to blow stronger than ever. Vladimir Putin In the Southeast, Donbass announced the decision to recognize the independence of the self-proclaimed separatist republics of the region, in which he charged. President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zhelensky, Being the puppet of the West. This was the pretext he later used to carry out total invasions and bombings.

Ukraine
Grill, 11, shelter before escape. Photo: Elizabetta PQ

She was so loving and friendly that she gave me a first look at the situation and with Elena, who was sitting next to me, we exchanged phone contacts. In addition, because he spoke the proper Italian, he was part of the so-called “Chernobyl Boys” in his childhood, when many Italian families were invited to spend a month’s vacation in the summer, and he volunteered to come with me the next day. Kiev tour, acting as translator.

After a few hours, the plan suddenly changed. In the early hours of February 24, air strike warning sirens sounded. The bombs began to fall and massive evacuations began in Kiev, causing traffic congestion on all highways.

“I can not go to your hotel,” Elena wrote to me that morning on WhatsApp, and she told me through audio – in a very agitated voice – that she had spent two hours refueling but he was not. won. He also sent me photos taken from the window of his apartment, where neighbors were carrying suitcases to escape from Kiev and the elevator in his building collapsed.

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As Elena An 11-year-old son, Grill, Who cares, I thought it would be better to leave her alone.

A few days later, I contacted her again via WhatsApp to ask how she was. Elena gave me a great message in a relaxed voice even though I was told at the beginning that I am not going to leave my aging parents now because I will not leave Ukraine in case of war. She was safe and healthy in ItalyIn a town in Lago de Como, with his son. It was very difficult for him to escape from Kiev, but he managed it.

Flight from Ukraine

“After spending the whole day, one night on the 24th, with my son, who was trembling as he was called to the shelter, and with me who was crying, the next day we wanted to leave the catacombs, but we could not because they bombed. We decided to leave in 5 seconds, actually 5 seconds. ” Counted.

“I grabbed a backpack, put money, documents, pajamas, clothes and anything else. We ran away. My ex-husband, Grill’s father, came to the border with us. To escape with the car, as it was not possible, and now is not possible, to cross the 24-hour queue, Eventually we decided to walk, crossing the border into Moldova”, He explained. Did he photograph the escape on foot? “No, I was crying at the time.”

Elena Klimenko and her son Grill in Lago de Como, Italy. Photo: Elizabetta PQ

Elena later described discovering several things on the other side of the border “Angels”: “A lot of people helped us, they opened the doors of their houses, they fed us, they took us to Chisinau, the capital of Moldova … they arranged for us a transport to the Roman city of IC, which has an airport, where we bought air tickets, the plane and we to Italy. He flew in. A local newspaper sent me a photo of an article he wrote about his Odyssey and a video of his interview with Italian television to escape: He was one of the first Ukrainian refugees to come to Italy. Now there are about 17,000.

He is going to write his happy ending. But the difficult and original events of the next few days dictated another agenda. Yesterday afternoon, I sent him a new WhatsApp stating that I had finally left Kiev and that I was in Romania and would be traveling to Warsaw to re-enter Ukraine. Ask her how everything is going in Italy. What news did you hear about your parents in Kiev and how was your boy?

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“I’m in recession. They killed my nephews.” He replied, chilling me. Following is the exchange of messages:

-What?

– Yes, they killed my two nephews.

-Can you talk?

– I do not want to, sorry, I can not even breathe.

– I imagine, I do not know what to say to you… I have a duck. But this is what you have to say, Elena. How old are they?

-3 and 15 years old, it was in Pucha, north of Kiev.

– My awesome. When is it? Are they your brothers’ children?

-No, my cousin’s children. Sorry, I can not now.

-I do not know how, but think if I can help something. I was shocked too, but I must say this, this massacre must be condemned. Once you regain your strength, please give me details on how we condemn it.

-Okay.

Then I sent him three emojis: one with two hands praying, one with a broken heart and one bent arm with difficulty. She sent me a one minute video condemning what happened on Italian television. “It simply came to our notice then. Strength ”, I encouraged her.

Horror details

This morning I was finally able to talk to Elena, who gave me details about the horror. He told me it all happened on March 4th. Her cousin Natasha and her husband fled the city of Pucha, north of Kiev, in a car with their three children: Andre, 15, Mikhail, 13, and Nicola, 3.

“There were five people in the car and the bad Russians started firing machine guns. Only a boy named Mikhail survived. My cousin and her husband were injured and hospitalized. I fainted when my mother called me to say that the only boy alive is meeting strangers. I think they were the first boys to be killed, ”he says.

How is your son? Have you heard that his relatives are dead?

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Yes. It worries me because he had no reaction when I told him. I will not cry. He pretended that nothing had happened, which is very bad“, The answer.

General view of a damaged bridge in the city of Irbin, northwest of Kiev, on March 8, 2022. Photo: SERGEI SUPINSKY / AFP

How are your parents Olga and Mikhail?

“They’ve out of Kiev, in a Dutchman near Borispol, they can not go out because they are both over 70 … My dad has goit and has cancer, he can not move. I tried to invite my mom to International Women’s Day, but so far I have not been able to. Of course in a few days they will remove all the links in Kiev, close all the gates and exits and starve like World War II “,” he said. ர சி து.

“I do not know what to say to you, psychologically I can not believe that everything that is happening is true. This is genocide, something I have never seen before! ” That cries.

“That’s why I ask the whole of Europe for help to stop this war, because we’ve already paid so much. No one is talking about the apartments we left behind. Shouts.

Assistance to refugees

A warrior like other Ukrainians, despite the catastrophe, Elena is now Full A portion of those two million refugees who have so far fled the war are working in Monza, a suburb of Milan, to help Ukrainian children and mothers arriving by bus from their home country.

“They need everything. That’s why I ask you, please, you can put the bank address at the end of your article. So people can send help and cooperate ”, Elena begs.

Of course, yes, but in the event of a severe economic crisis in Argentina I warn him: “It does not matter. Even if people donate 1 or 2 euros, everything will be beneficial to our people.”

The bank account where they receive donations for refugees in Ukraine

Elizabeth Big

Special Envoy

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