It was early. The windows rattled and there was the sound of an explosion, like thousands since the war began, that had hit the vicinity of where I was taking my things to go to work. A friend, Alexander, immediately offered to take me to document with photographs the place where that rocket had fallen, since it had certainly been close judging by the noise and vibration of the windows of the building where we were.
On the way we learned that a missile had hit a bus stop and that there were human victims. Alexander received a call from a contact and informed him of the situation.
Upon arrival, we coincided with the firefighters and the bomb squad who were already working on the scene amidst bent iron, glass on the ground and, in what was a bus stop, two bodies of an adult couple were undone in the rubble. . The Russian missile had hit very close to them and unfortunately killed them instantly as they were waiting for a truck, perhaps on their way to work or home, trying to lead a normal life despite the war. You could still smell a kind of aroma of burning oil and smoke as it didn't take long for us to reach the site.
There, a few meters from the destroyed bus terminal and almost imperceptible due to the rubble and the work of security personnel, was the body of a child lying on the sidewalk.
Slender, with eyes to the sky was the body of Dmytros Kubata. A 13-year-old boy who was walking with his sister on the sidewalk when the missile fell, killing himself on the spot.
Within minutes, and the most shocking thing about this whole story, is that his father, Vyacheslav Kubata, arrived on the scene within minutes.
With the love that only a father can have for his children, he touched the corpse's face and very tenderly adjusted its eyelids and took its hands. A hand that he did not stop taking at all times except when he had to check some belonging of his son. Minutes passed and the father took out a small book and silently recited a few words: I was praying. While chaos, explosions, death and destruction reigned in the place, a father prayed for the life of his son without letting go of his hand, as if he was clinging to her or trying not to let what was happening. was real. Before this image, a policewoman gave him a hug. The only thing we can offer and that is certainly not enough.
That day we witnessed a crime. Children and civilians must not die in war. And parents should not hold hands with their children killed by criminals.
A forest of pine and birch trees surrounds the city of Kharkiv and serves as a natural border from the neighboring country that is now invading them. That is where the battle between Ukrainians and Russians is fought and it is also the place where Putin's forces occupied the territory to place their artillery and constantly bombard the population that in the best of cases fled and in others, had to shelter underground for up to three weeks while the army, militiamen and volunteers resisted and defended the territory.
The front is still active, however, it has been a couple of months since the Ukrainians repelled the attacks and seized the land that today is full of new and used artillery, abandoned. Rusty tanks, garbage and bullets rusting among the fields of sunflowers that continue to grow despite gunpowder, fire and destruction.
On the ground and in the trenches, there are also countless boots that the Ukrainian soldiers show off. They are mostly rubber boots and in other campaign cases. All official and regulation of the Russian army, scattered here and there, some hanging on branches of burned trees and others half buried between puddles and flies.
- Why did they abandon the boots? - I ask, thinking that in my logic they are essential to walk.
- They were not abandoned. The dead and crippled do not wear boots- an officer answers me, while we continue along the path between fields of sunflowers, burned pines and abandoned boots.
Vinnytsia is located in the center of Ukraine, housing about 350,000 inhabitants who, until today, have maintained a relative calm in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory. On March 6, its airport was bombed, thus cutting off one of the air arteries of communication in the country and its inhabitants learned to live with the constant threat of a bombing without it taking place... until today.
Long-range missiles were placed in a government office, destroying one hundred percent of its interior, as well as a neighboring apartment complex where 21 casualties have been recorded, all civilians.
Until now, firefighters continue to work at the scene, as well as the Ukrainian defense and civil authorities.