Home Doll house In Ukraine, shattered lives in a shattered home, just one of many | New

In Ukraine, shattered lives in a shattered home, just one of many | New

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POTASHNYA, Ukraine (AP) — In 100 days of war in Ukraine, countless lives have been forever shattered, torn, upended.

For tens of thousands of people, life has been brutally interrupted. Those who survived sometimes barely know how to begin to put the pieces back together.

When a house symbolizing a life of hard work and memories is destroyed, how to rebuild?

Nila Zelinska and her husband, Eduard, returned for the first time this week to what was once their home in a village outside Kyiv. It lay in ruins, reduced to roofless charred walls by bombardment in the days following Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

“Rex! Rex!” she cried, calling to the black Labrador they’d been forced to leave behind. It was only later that the faithful dog finally reappeared, wagging its tail under the loving caresses of its owner.

But apart from Rex, nothing was like before.

Instead of a house, their broken house is now a symbol of their broken life.

Nila Zelinska recalled the terror of the bombardments which forced them to leave. They picked up his 82-year-old mother and then escaped the flames and explosions by fleeing with her through their garden.

“Everything was on fire,” she said. “I didn’t think I could get her out of there, because she’s very old. But we grabbed her by the arms and started running.

Much of what happened next is just a dim memory. The family was evacuated west, away from the fighting that engulfed the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital and other towns in the north and east.

Rebuffed by Ukrainian defenders from capturing Kyiv, Russia has since reoriented its troops and focused its attacks on the eastern industrial region of Donbass, where fighting is still fierce.

Reaching the 100-day war milestone is both a tragedy for Ukraine but also an indication of its fierce resistance: some analysts believed its troops could quickly crumble in the face of the larger and better-equipped Russian military.

Nila Zelinska sobbed in the ruins of her home when she and her husband returned to their village, Potashnya. From the rubble, she recovered a doll that belonged to one of her grandchildren. She held him firmly, as if he were a real child.

Her husband carefully made his way through the piles of bricks and broken glass.

“There is no place to live. If there were accommodations, we would come back and plant a garden for ourselves, as we always have,” she said. “We had a garden here. Potatoes, cucumbers and tomatoes grew here. Everything came from the garden.

Neither of them knows what the future holds just yet, but Nila knows what she wants.

“Peace be on earth, peace so that our people do not suffer so much,” she said.