Dmytro Neveselyi: Zelenodolska community is always ready to help!
Zelenodolsk is a small beautiful city of Kryvyi Rih rayon in the southern tip of the Dnipropetrovsk region. Zelenodolska community today borders with the occupied Kherson region. It is the residents of the neighboring region who, fleeing from the Russian military, first of all get to Zelenodolsk, where they are accepted as family and helped.
Author: Iryna Lisova
“The territory is bombarded with ammunition, including prohibited ones”
Almost every day, from the first days of March, constant shelling from Kherson region continues here. The Russian military does not stop trying to get closer to the borders of Dnipropetrovsk region and fire at settlements in the Kryvyi Rih area. Zelenodolska community also falls under constant shelling. Moreover, the Russian military use banned cluster shells, «Smerch», «Uragan». Many farms and infrastructure facilities in Zelenodolsk area suffered. Despite the constant shelling by Russian troops, local residents and leaders remain in their native and beloved city. From the first days of the war, local territorial defense was created here.
“Unfortunately, less than half of the local residents remained in the community after the start of the war. People left, business closed. Lots of private houses are damaged. The local council helps people. We provide materials, so that Zelenodolsk residents can at least slightly repair their houses and take shelter from rain and bad weather. Some housing is not even repairable. It needs to be rebuilt from the foundation. To make it comfortable for people to sit out the shelling, local shelters and basements were able to provide free Internet, thanks to the Kyivstar provider. When the heating season ended, heaters were installed. The most important thing is living and healthy fellow countrymen,”- Dmytro Neveselyi, head of Zelenodolska community emphasizes.
People behind his back call the mayor “our Arestovych” because they trust him: the man is constantly in touch, ready to help, and every day he does everything possible and impossible for the normal functioning of his city. Every evening, on the Facebook page of Zelenodolska community, Dmytro Yuriyovych reports on what is happening, reassures people. Each of his appeals ends on an optimistic note: "Take care of yourself, take care of your close ones, always help each other, we are always here and ready to help!"
Dmytro Neveselyi says that the worst thing is that people get used to war:
“Unfortunately, almost no one pays attention to the air-raid warning. The territory of Zelenodolska territorial community has been shelled almost every day for three months. These are chaotic attacks. They create chaos in the community. The territory of the community is covered with ammunition, including prohibited ones. About 1,200 unexploded cluster shells were collected in Zelenodolsk alone. In three months, three civilians were killed, three people exploded on cluster shells, two were wounded.”
“People will come back someday. They will sit on their bikes. And they will go home. To the villages free from occupation"
Residents of the neighboring Kherson region, fleeing from the Russian invasion, first of all get to the Zelenodolska community of Kryviy Rih rayon. As those who managed to get out said, the Russian military tortured people. They threw grenades into basements where women and children were sitting. They took away the last food from people. There was no water, no gas, no electricity. People didn't understand how to live. When the Armed Forces of Ukraine slightly pushed back the Russian troops, people began to flee. They rode out three or four on one bicycle, took out disabled persons on wheelchairs, and used ordinary domestic wheelbarrows to rescue those who were weak and could not walk by themselves. They also went on foot through plantings, fields ...and reached the safer Zelenodolsk. Here people are given first aid, clothes. Many of them had no basic things, barefoot. Mothers with children are helped with diapers and baby food. Then people are taken by buses to Kryviy Rih.
All these bicycles, wheelchairs, strollers and barrows, were collected by the local residents of Zelenodolsk and transported to the local hangar for storage. More than 400 vehicles locate in the hangar.
Local resident Stas Kozlyuk writes on the social network about this storage of vehicles:
“In the third month of the war, it already seems that you are simply not capable of emotions. Because you have already heard so many terrible stories, seen so many different brutalities that you no longer have the strength left. And then you go into a large hangar, in which there are hundreds of bicycles: ancient and not very old, cool and average. Some - with white rags tied to the steering wheel or trunk. Some have bent wheels and pins. Somewhere in the same warehouse you can find wheelchairs, baby carriages, wheelbarrows. It would seem, nothing surprising. Just a storage.
But on that “transport”, people got out through the fields to the positions of the Ukrainian army from Kherson. Who and how could. When the shelling started, people simply abandoned their vehicles and ran or crawled to the positions. But the most terrible picture was when during such shelling people dragged paralyzed relatives: at first they carried them on themselves, and when they didn’t have enough strength, they simply dragged them along the ground. Anything to keep from being occupied.
In fact, this warehouse is now a museum. Local authorities, together with the military, decided to keep all this transport. They hope that the people who ran away from the Russian troops will someday return. They sit on their bikes. And they will go home. In villages free from occupation”.
"To help everyone who needs it"
From the very beginning of the war, Zelenodolska community has been accepting refugees from Vysokopillya and neighboring villages and providing first aid so that people can move on in search of a safe haven for themselves and their families.
The community accepts refugees not only from Kherson direction. Many arrived in early March from Kyiv, Kharkiv and Donetsk regions. Everyone needed to be provided with the necessary medicines, food, clothing and temporary shelter.
The volunteer headquarters is called to help the inhabitants of the occupied territories. A team of volunteers provides the necessary assistance to all those in need during the war.
Yulia Stadnyk, coordinator of the volunteer headquarters, said that before the war it was the Free Space public youth center, now it has been renamed the Free Space humanitarian volunteer headquarters. Here they work with several categories of citizens - these are migrants, refugees fleeing from Russian troops, the local population, among which there are people who are infirm, with disabilities, who do not stay long here, but receive all the necessary first aid from volunteers. People go to other, safer places. There are also people who apply from the occupied villages for the necessary help, then return home. Refugees who remain here are not denied assistance.
Volunteers cooperate with territorial defense, with our military. Now they are helping fellow countrymen who are defending the country in different regions, those who are now in the hottest spots, as well as the guys defending the borders of Zelenodolska community. Help comes here from different cities of Ukraine, as well as from Europe, Canada, and the USA. Ammunition, medicines, food, clothes are being transferred to Zelenodolsk volunteer headquarters. Help is completely different, from socks to serious things for the military.
To date, almost a thousand families have received assistance. The volunteer organization reports weekly on the collected and spent funds, do not forget to name the names of those who do not stand aside and constantly help with funds and things. The report includes a photo of what was purchased and to whom it was given. For, as Yulia Stadnyk says, publicity and transparency are the basis of trust in volunteers.
“Every time the heart is breaking, listening to the stories of people fleeing the war, looking into their sad eyes. I understand what they had to go through and endure. And each such story fills me more and more with anger and an unbridled desire for victory. Victory of good over evil, humanity over soullessness,” says volunteer Yulia Stadnik.
I remember several inspiring stories that give confidence in victory. For example, a family from Kherson applied to the volunteer center. People were so grateful that they were not left in trouble in difficult times. They decided to help other refugees. They remained in our volunteer center absolutely free of charge support and help in any way they can.
I was moved to tears by the story of an old man, who visits us on foot from a neighboring village. He stayed there to live almost alone. Under shelling, he comes to take food not only for himself, but also for our smaller brothers. As he feeds all abandoned dogs and cats.
The spouses who had lived together for 50 years asked for help in volunteering headquarters. The husband couldn’t walk, the wife looked after him as best she could and quietly hoped for the recovery of her lover. Miracles happen. Grandpa found the strength to get on his feet, and they got out of the occupation on foot. Half the century together, but kept the love. And so they go on in life, hoping only for a happy future and peace in their native Ukraine.
It is precisely such stories with a bitter aftertaste, but a happy ending, Yulia Stadnyk says, that inspire work and give confidence in the liberation of our country.
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