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My mother started crying on the forty-sixth day of the war

My mother started crying on the forty-sixth day of the war

KYIV (Dagbladet): Once a week I go to the supermarket and buy food. I went there on Sunday, the forty-sixth day of the war. The number of people on the streets reminds me of the time before the war – families with children were outside, rented bikes were put back on the streets and there were many cars on the roads. It also smells like a peaceful life. A kebab booth has opened at the bus station and three men in uniform are lined up.

In the early days of the war, cigarettes were hard to come by. Now it is no longer a problem. In the queue to buy cigarettes in a large shopping center, I heard two young men under the age of 30 behind me. They are wearing military clothes. They discussed the importance of owning drones in modern warfare. “Pedestrians are no longer so important,” one says to the other. “For our unit, it is very important to have a drone – I explore and see everything from above, and then tell our people where to go.”

Also when the war broke out, only the supermarket was open in the shopping center. But now all stores are slowly but surely opening. There are no longer queues in front of the pharmacy. And in the supermarket you will find almost everything, even ready-made foods, grilled chicken and a variety of salads. When I look at the pork selection in the meat department, I think of my hometown of Kherson, which is still under occupation. Everything is very strange. Here in Kyiv we have just about everything, even the fancy food and the prices are almost the same as before. In Kherson, food has become much more expensive.

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More normal: This weekend, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.  Photo: AFP/NTB

More normal: This weekend, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Photo: AFP/NTB
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Mom says there is no problem to get food in Kherson. You will find meat and a lot of different vegetables. Friends say that they also have cigarettes, but from several unknown brands, which they assume are now imported, from the Crimea. Almost everything has become more expensive, there are long queues for food, but you can still pay by bank card. In the city markets you can pay only in cash, cash is now the biggest problem in Kherson. Longest queues at ATMs. Another problem is the drugs that the Russians still do not allow people to enter.

The curfew in Kherson begins at 20 pm. But after 4 pm, the streets are already empty. After dark, the Russian occupiers drive loudly around the city, shining in front of people’s windows and in the gardens of private homes. At night, explosions are heard from afar, but I try to assure my mother that if there is shooting outside the city, it means that the Ukrainian army is on its way.

On Sunday, my mother learned that her best friend, who lives in a village near Kherson, had left her home and moved to an area controlled by Ukraine. Two weeks ago, armed Russian soldiers arrived, two very young and frightened. They checked every nook and cranny in her house. Asked about her dog, she was interested to hear about the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine because they had no information, mobile phones or the Internet. The village is close to the front line. I guess that’s why my mother’s girlfriend chose to leave, because they didn’t want to stand in the line of fire. My mother was very upset about this – and cried when we talked on the phone. I felt very lonely. This was the first time she had cried since the beginning of the war. I’ve endured for 46 days, but it’s still…not made of steel and feels very lonely now. I reminded her that all the neighbors in the house she lives in are still there, and that I talk to her every night so she feels less alone.

After talking to my mother, I think about how the Russian army will be remembered after this war. Previously, people treated the army with respect, because everyone believed that they had an honorable mission to defend their homeland. But the Russians are not an army, but a terrorist gang fighting a defenseless people. The Russian army is for me, and all Ukrainians now – and I hope for the rest of the world – a gang of attackers, thieves, murderers and criminals. They are creatures without dignity and dignity.