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Firefighters are doing their best to save Victor's house

Firefighters are doing their best to save Victor’s house

On the way out of the hotel we hear a number of roars. We quickly realize that somewhere in the city of Kharkiv there was another attack. The explosions come in quick succession, and there are many indications that several Grad rockets have been launched into the city.

Soon, we saw smoke rising and headed towards the place. Every day since we came to town, we’ve seen this happen.

civil framework

When we arrived, we quickly realized that this time civilians were also affected.

The fire broke out after Grad rockets hit the apartment building in the center of Kharkiv. Photo: the girl of Skjerstad

We get to know the firefighting crews who are in full swing to start the firefighting work. We have met many of them after similar attacks in the previous days.

Watch the roof burn, Victor says.

Victor returned home when he heard the explosion and saw smoke rising from his neighbourhood.  Photo: the girl of Skjerstad

Victor returned home when he heard the explosion and saw smoke rising from his neighbourhood. Photo: the girl of Skjerstad

We meet him in the backyard. He smokes a cigarette standing helplessly, seeing that the apartment building he lives in is on fire.

– I live on the fourth floor where smoke leaks. Despair says: I have no words, no words.

– Everything is gone

Suddenly Victor ran into the building. He wants to go up and check what’s going on in his apartment. We followed, letting the fire crews go up to the floors. The water flows in a stream that flows down the stairs.

The firefighting work is in full swing, and the firefighters are working to prevent the flames from spreading into the building.

Smoke, water, and flames destroyed most of the apartment.  Photo: the girl of Skjerstad

Smoke, water, and flames destroyed most of the apartment. Photo: the girl of Skjerstad

– If I take the lever, someone shouts from the bottom of the stairs to a fellow who comes behind us.

We see that the doors of many apartments have opened, and Victor’s door is also wide open. Inside the apartment, two firefighters with hoses stream into Victor’s living room. It smells of burning and smoke.

– Come and shoot here, one of the firefighters tells us.

They will show us the damage caused by the Russian attacks.

There is very little to spare in Victor and the neighbours' apartments.  Photo: the girl of Skjerstad

There is very little to spare in Victor and the neighbours’ apartments. Photo: the girl of Skjerstad

We soon see that there is little to be saved in Victor’s apartment. Most of it was destroyed by fire and water.

– Everything is gone, says Victor when he comes out of the apartment.

hit multiple times

This is the second time that his neighborhood has been subjected to Russian attacks.

March 6: The missile hit the adjacent building. Our wine was destroyed. Since then, we’ve taken refuge in the basement, says Victor.

This time, not only the homes on this street were affected.

Firefighters move from one fire to another in Kharkiv.  Photo: the girl of Skjerstad

Firefighters move from one fire to another in Kharkiv. Photo: the girl of Skjerstad

A number of streets in the area were crowded with firefighting vehicles. Grad missiles hit several apartment complexes. Outside of one of them, a dead person was found. The injured are lying on the floor.

Desperate Olga.  One of her cats disappeared after the apartment building she lived in was attacked.  Photo: Simin Akser

Desperate Olga. One of her cats disappeared after the apartment building she lived in was attacked. Photo: Simin Akser

– I was born here. It’s a disaster, says Olga, whom we meet outside the dorm where Victor lives.

You are trying to contact someone for help. She is crying, obviously affected by what happened.

– I live on the second floor. She says there is a lot of water and dust. Tears roll down her cheeks, and her voice breaks from time to time.

Characterized by the horror of war

But the apartment is the least she cares about. She just wants to find her cat ASAP.

– I have four cats. I saved three of them. And the fourth is pregnant, and I want to save her, she said.

Conditions for the residents of Kharkiv have been harsh since the start of the war.

More than 1,600 private homes were destroyed after the Russian attacks in Kharkiv.  Photo: the girl of Skjerstad

More than 1,600 private homes were destroyed after the Russian attacks in Kharkiv. Photo: the girl of Skjerstad

The city was a constant target of Russian attacks. People live here knowing that a new attack can come anytime and anywhere.

– I do not know what to say. I feel numb. Olga says my whole life is here.

Two months of war has left its mark on the people we meet. All day and night, you hear the roar of rockets, shells and grenades as they hit targets in the city.

Living in such conditions is heavy for the population.

– Now I feel like I hate Russians. I hate all Russians, says Olga, angry and desperate.

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