Date: October 7, 2014
Location: Petrovka, Donetsk, Ukraine
To survive, local residents of Donetsk are forced to live in makeshift bomb shelters in their basements. Many have lived there for several months.
Nicolay found shelter in a basement more than six months ago together with his mother and little sister. He shows us the living conditions of his family and many other Donetsk citizens who have left their homes and have taken to living underground.
- Nicolay, a teenager, guides Ekaterina through the a shelter and shows multiple bedrooms with beds, children’s room,a dining room and a television room.
Nicolay and Ekaterina, : (Russian) Nicolay: “Here is the light too. My family sleeps here.” Ekaterina: “I want to come in to take a look.” Nicolay: “And here we eat.” Ekaterina: “What do you eat?” Nicolay: “We eat whatever people are cooking.” Ekaterina: “Is there a kitchen, or is everything outside the basement?” Nicolay: “We cook in the apartment, at home.” Ekaterina: “So you cook at home and bring food here, right?” Nicolay: “Yes, if we have enough time.” Ekaterina: “Is there shelling here often?” Nicolay: “Well yes. Yesterday we saw shelling start ourselves, and also today shelling was caused by our cell phone signal. Two times.” Ekaterina: “Are there small children living here?” Nicolay: “Yes, here.” Ekaterina: “And where are the kids now, outside?” Nicolay: “Yes, outside with their mother. And here kids do handcrafted inlays. Very beautiful.” Ekaterina: “Are you going to school?” Nicolay: “Nope.” “And here’s where grandma sleeps.” Ekaterina: “Right. And the cat is here too.” Nicolay: “The cat is from the other room. There are also other rooms. Here’s their kitchen. Here they drink tea. And there is last corridor and that’s it. And here’s the exit.” Ekaterina: “Does this TV work?” Nicolay: “No. Just DVDs work.” Ekaterina: “Is there a bathroom?” Nicolay: “Well, there’s actually no bathroom. People whose apartments are near go home to use the toilets. And the rest…you know. Some people live quite far” Ekaterina: “Oh, I don’t know because I never lived in such conditions. And there’s no shower here either?” Nicolay: “No shower.” Ekaterina: “And is there water here?” Nicolay “There’s no water. No bathroom, no shower, no water. Nothing like that. Just beds.” Ekaterina: “How long have you lived here?” Nicolay: “Honestly, I don’t remember. A month, two or three? Oh no. More. Ekaterina: “Seriously? Since spring?” Nicolay: “No. Since the beginning of July. Before this place started to get shelled, I lived somewhere else. And after it started to get shelled, my mother and sister and I moved here.” Ekaterina: “What’s your name?” Nicolay: “Nicolay.”