Few cities remain under Ukrainian control and have been bombed as often as Mykolaiv.
Several months ago, Russian forces advanced to within a few kilometers of the large shipbuilding port on the Southern Bug River. However, in recent weeks, the Ukrainian counter-offensives have pushed the Russian forces back, though still within reach.
It seems like a day goes by without missiles striking buildings – Universities, houses and offices of councils, factories, apartments and other places.
Russia seems to have no strategy or logic for what it wants, but the gradual elimination and destruction of life.
Over the six-month war, I have visited the city multiple times and each time the destruction has been more apparent.
Even though it is not on the frontlines, it is important to enter with the same precautions that we would take if it were.
Even worse is the night. It can be particularly vicious between 3am and 5am. It is a nightmare that few people can endure.
Tamara Ribova, 69, says “It’s frightening to sleep.”
“I fell asleep at six o’clock in the morning. Terrible.
“I ran into the corridor and sat in the corner, because there was no hiding place around the windows or the door.
“I ran into the corridor and sat down. It’s all banging.
“And when it becomes quiet, you go to bed a little. I sympathise fully with prisoners.
“I am in a cell. “I don’t see outsiders or people.”
“A ball of fire & dust flew into my bedroom”
A few weeks ago, her windows were blown out of the window by an airstrike. The glass hit her granddaughter asleep on the couch.
She stated, “It occurred at 6:55 am. It was so loud and fast. It is impossible to express it in words.
Through the open door, a ball of fire and dust flew into my bedroom. It lifted me and put me on the bed.
Her second-floor apartment’s windows are now covered with wood. This means that there is no natural light coming in and electricity is constantly on. It is costing her money she doesn’t have.
We meet Lyudmila and Iryna further down the road.
Iryna’s windows have been covered with plastic sheeting.
“I don’t have any money and I don’t have anywhere to go,” she says. Let’s all hope that electricity will soon be available,” she says, with the resignation of someone who doesn’t believe it will.
People will die if they don’t have proper insulation
In just a few months, temperatures will drop to the freezing point in the winter.
It’s mostly the elderly and unwell who are left here in Mykolaiv. People will die if they don’t have proper insulation.
People rebuild their lives after being ravaged by Russian bombs, and we meet them fixing up their homes. Defiance and pride can be expressed in small gestures, such as repairing the front gate or clearing the yard.
One man’s grim view of reality was “Every morning, we go out onto the street to see who survived the night and who didn’t.”
It has been a difficult six months. It could get worse.