Behind enemy lines, Ukrainian woman survives with her chickens By Reuters


© Reuters. Zinaida Makisheva, 82, who survived Russian occupation, hugs one of her chickens on April 12, 2022, in Borodyanka, Ukraine, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Makisheva was not very shaken when Russian tanks first appeared in early March, but


by Zohra Bensamara and Joseph Campbell

BORODIANKA, Ukraine (Reuters) – After surviving World War II and the collapse of the Soviet Union, among other seismic events, Zinaida Makisheva now has chickens to thank for her most recent ordeal – a brief but brief overview of her city. Brutal captured Russian soldiers.

The 82-year-old wasn’t very shaken when Russian tanks first appeared in early March in Borodyanka, northwest of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, but then Grad missiles hit her home, destroying her chicken coop.

An adjacent neighbor was killed in the gunfight. And then Russian troops began to tour every day.

His daily routine established since childhood when he started “rural work” was soon spoiled by shelling and missile attacks.

“Scared doesn’t fully describe how I felt. I felt dead, senseless… I didn’t have time to bring logs, big and small, because of the shelling. That’s how they destroyed all those houses.” Destroyed … What I know is: a missile – no home,” said Makisheva, who spent most of her life in Ukraine’s Black Sea port city of Odessa.

“The doors were blown out. I took the chickens in because I needed something to eat. I had nothing to eat except potatoes, that’s all. No water, no gas, nothing “

The Russian army came in three waves, he said, the first most violent. One day several soldiers broke into his house, demanding that he stay in the basement.

“‘Go to the basement, you old bitch!’ (said the Russian soldiers). I told them: ‘Kill me, but I will not go’,” said Makishev.


During the days of the occupation, Makishiva fired to fetch buckets of water from a nearby well.

When food was scarce, he still had eggs laid by his own hens. His family was far away, as his one son and three grandchildren live in different parts of the country.

Since Borodyanka was recaptured by the Ukrainian army more than a week ago, Makisheva, who loved to dance the waltz when she was young, walks for more than three hours a day, smashing buildings and smashing Russian tanks. , a city community center or church to collect whatever food aid is available.

Thirty sleepless days with the help of Valerian herb are now a thing of the past.

“It is quiet now, we have the radio on again. There was nothing for a month, I felt deaf, no conversation except my dogs and cat,” she said.

“Now that the radio says it’s midnight, I take some valerian and sleep peacefully until 5 o’clock. Now the dreams are better, more happiness. Because it was so bad before, so many people died. was intimidating.”

“Whatever God decides will happen. I have gone through two wars and now this. I pray that this passes and the fight will not return again,” said Makishiva.

Russia sent thousands of troops to Ukraine on February 24, which it told its southern neighbor to demilitarize and “reject” as “a special operation”.

Kyiv and its Western supporters say it is an excuse for unprovoked aggression. Ukrainian forces have put up a strong resistance to the invasion and the West has imposed massive economic sanctions on Russia.

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