A Ukrainian family have told how they have been left hiding in a neighbour’s basement from shell fire and are without electricity as they fear Russian troops in the separatist area of Ukraine
Image: AFP via Getty Images)
A family has told how they are hiding in a neighbour’s basement from the sound of shell fire in a “nightmare” without electricity after Russian troops entered their separatist area of Ukraine on Monday night.
The couple, who have two children, thought they had a dream house that they had built in 2011 but now they have been left sheltering from shells and gunfire.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin ordered his troops, who had been building on the border, to enter the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine on Monday night, claiming that they would be “peacekeepers”.
Footage has shown long military convoys heading into the area since and fireworks were set off by some separatists celebrating in the city of Donetsk.
But for the stricken family they are living in terror and have told how they are hiding from Putin’s army while their names have been changed to hide their identity.
Alexei, 38, told The Sun : “We thought we’d found our dream home but now it’s a living nightmare — having to hide in a neighbour’s basement when we hear the shelling.”
His partner Natalia has said that they don’t have a basement at their home and so are sheltering in a windowless corridor in the freezing cold of the Ukraine winter.
But when the shell fire gets stronger they go to their neighbour’s home.
She said: “When the shelling gets heavy we run to our neighbour’s basement, though for the past few days I have hardly slept. We constantly hear loud shots coming from outside and our biggest fear is that an answer will arrive from the Ukrainians. The children have somehow learned to sleep through the noise, although they wake up sometimes, but I stay awake because I’m afraid for them. It’s so scary.
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Alexei said that a lot of Donetsk now is without water and electricity, with separatists having been accused of cutting off energy supplies so that they can then try and blame Ukraine.
He said that the family had decided to stay put in Ukraine rather than accept the offer of being evacuated to Russia’s Rostov region with footage having shown many people having fled the separatist zone.
Alexei claimed that the family had no reason to go there as it was not their country.
With men not allowed to leave as part of the evacuation, Natalia is worried that her partner will be forced into the army.
She said: “Everyone was given a chance to evacuate but the men are not allowed to go and I’m afraid that my husband will be taken away to serve. I don’t want him to leave and he doesn’t want to go because we do not want a war. This is not our war. We did not start it and we do not want to participate in it.”
Their fear now is for the current invasion to lead to major war with Ukraine, coming after Putin said on Monday night that he does not recognise the sovereignty of the country.