It wasn’t easy to find time to talk to Yana Petrova from the New-York town, Toresk community which is now heavily affected by the war. Yana has little free time these days.

During the day, she has to get firewood and food, and in the evenings she falls without strength. She has a personal war: she must survive and protect her two children from hunger and cold. 

When Russia invaded Ukraine, it was as if someone put our real life on hold and from time to time provides a little support so that we do not die of hopelessness and hunger. Our apartment used to have central heating, and we had enough money in our wallets. However, with the full-scale invasion, businesses were evacuated, I lost my job, and with it came total poverty.

It is certainly very scary to remain under the most violent artillery shelling and airstrikes with two children. But we have no choice. There are no relatives who could accept us in peaceful regions, but wandering around the world, being a burden for someone and living in refugee camps – I am not ready for this.

In the summer, we could survive thanks to the sun’s warmth, berries and vegetables from the garden. When the winter came, we had no hope for survival. The first half of the winter, we managed to warm ourselves at the expense of meager savings from the days of our peaceful lives. Since January, the situation became unbearable, I honestly started thinking that we would die, because there was no money and no chance to earn it to buy solid fuel.

Thankfully, “Operation Blessing” came to save us. We don’t even know how they even heard about our remote settlement and how we live in real humanitarian disaster. They gave us a luxury solid fuel stove and lots of fuel briquettes provided by Japan Platform. We couldn’t’ believe that we received this vital help for free! Now we will definitely warm up and be able to survive…

As long as we are alive, we will thank the caring people from far away in Japan, for the incredible warmth of your hearts, for your generous and hardworking hands, the warmth of which can be felt from faraway Japan even in the remote villages of Ukraine under fire. As long as you are there, we will survive. As long as we live, we will pray for you! Thank you!”: Yana thanked with tears.

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 Anna Chaban, CBN-Emmanuil

Photo: Oleksiy Hutnyk