03.06.2023 10:00

Rats Alona Volodymyrivna, Kupiansk

I have preserved the author's spelling and punctuation in the text.

I want to tell you how my life has changed since February 24, 2022, and talk about working conditions during the occupation.

The morning, like for all Ukrainians, started with the terrible news of the beginning of russia's full-scale invasion.

I didn't want to believe it.

In the 21st century, one could expect some hacker attacks, blocking of bank accounts, and so on...

But not the destruction of cities, explosions, and loss of lives. At first, everyone thought it was temporary, some misunderstanding, and that it would all end quickly, that they were just trying to scare us!

After a few days, we realized that it was WAR. And it wouldn't end that quickly. Thoughts of leaving our city didn't cross our minds. As long as the road to Kharkiv was open, there were no problems with suppliers. But when our district was closed due to the occupation, panic ensued. Everyone understood that there would be a shortage of all goods. Shelves in stores started getting emptied. Pharmacy shelves quickly became empty, including veterinary ones. It was very difficult with patients who needed veterinary drugs and specialized diets on a regular basis. Many of my patients with chronic and acute illnesses died without proper medication during that period.

The responsibility for my patients forced me to continue working.


I had to travel by my own transport in search of the necessary goods throughout the Luhansk region. They already had deliveries of veterinary goods and drugs from the aggressor's territory, which, by the way, were not of the best quality. But, to my surprise, the owners of veterinary pharmacies there were not very welcoming. They categorically didn't want to share contacts of those who brought the goods that were so necessary for my patients.

After several unsuccessful attempts to establish contact, I decided to go to the aggressor's territory.

I was very surprised by the people's attitude towards me.

(Identity concealed) agreed to place orders on my behalf, even without prepayment, but with a certain markup because her tax depended on the invoices that passed through her organization.

Passing through customs control, I barely held myself back from losing control.

Once, a customs officer said to me, "Of course, now you're doing well, you get everything you need and take it with you."

Sure, sitting at my desk, I could place an order with a phone call or a few clicks online, and it would be delivered to my doorstep in a few days.

I felt so sad and uncomfortable just sitting there and waiting for the "liberators".

But I had to remain silent, not to expose myself to danger. Endure it for the sake of my patients.

Because I understood that as long as there was any possibility, I would endure those arrogant jabs until the very end. Among them, there were people who understood. They sympathized, and although they didn't say anything directly, it was clear that they disagreed with their own government and what was happening in Ukraine. There were a lot of patients. We transported them even from Izium district. Some had shrapnel wounds after shelling.

I worked and waited for the arrival of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to liberate us.


I didn't believe what was being broadcasted on the radio and television, that Ukraine had abandoned us and didn't need us. The only thing that was very painful was that our fellow countrymen considered us traitors. At Ukrainian checkpoints, they could confiscate all the goods we were transporting to Kupiansk, and at government institutions on the front line, they could claim that there was no city called Kupiansk in Ukraine.

This caused despair among people.

And we waited.

On September 8, 2022, the offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine began.

It was both frightening and joyful at the same time.

For a month, we hid in basements. And at the first opportunity, after the de-occupation, my son, some animals, and I left for the territory of Ukraine.

To this day, I am an internally displaced person (IDP). Every day, I think about when I will be able to return home, to my patients.

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