Ukraine’s characteristic white and gray paint was also applied to the Volunteer Center building, located near Kharkiv. It shines in the May sun, just like the green grass on which the children’s playground has been laid out in front of the main entrance. One of the walls has a mural in the form of Ukrainian embroidery. A beautiful building could be found on a postcard. If there hadn’t been a war and if it would have remained intact. It is enough to go around it to see that it is only an illusion, the remains of a building. The front wall miraculously survived, but the wing of the building was destroyed by the Russians. Walls burned, demolished, ruins, destruction. Children no longer play in the playground. I go to the old Center and take pictures. Bang. Characteristic for artillery. There’s an explosion to my right. I think right. I look like this. There is a puff of smoke between the civilian houses. Single shot. The Russians fired a mortar or howitzer. It is a signal to change places. I travel with the Polish humanitarian transport which helps the victims of the war. We are always in the zone of Russian fire. The car must be running at full throttle, there is no time to make mistakes. We are moving. One of the roads that leads to the front village where we have to go is marked with blowing funnels. We pass the hole with the elements of the exploded armored vehicle.
Heavy fighting takes place near Kharkov. The Ukrainians launched a successful counter-offensive outside the city. Even the 227th Territorial Defense Battalion from Kharkiv reached the Russian border, erecting border posts where they were overthrown by the Russians when they launched the invasion of Ukraine. This is not the end, however. Clearing the track north of Kharkiv is still ongoing. Orcs – as they say about the Russians at the front, there are still a lot of them. They have to be chased away, abroad, but it will continue. They are still entrenched and control part of the village. They pass from hand to hand. Along with failed frontline battles with selected Ukrainian units, the Russians vetoed them by constantly bombarding civilian settlements and villages. The humanitarian situation is dramatic in the villages on the front. Famine is a characteristic “fragment” of Russian actions in Ukraine, where orcs strike, where people quickly run out of food and drinking water.
Poles help Ukraine. It should however be noted that few humanitarian convoys reach the front line for obvious reasons. Wherever the transport, which I accompanied as a journalist, entered, it was difficult to help. The transport was organized by the Freedom and Help Foundation and the Kawałek Nieba Foundation. “Thank you for not forgetting us. Glory to the Poles! “- shouts the touched Ukrainian politician who manages the crisis defense of this region. de facto fighting every day so that people have enough to eat and survive until dawn. To save people from the fire. The Kharkiv region is plagued by a continuous cannonade of Grad, Uragan and cannon artillery. The Russians carry out air raids and even launch Iskanders into the villages surrounding Kharkiv. The Russians had previously attacked the outskirts of Kharkiv as well with the use of thermobaric missiles and phosphorus bombs (considered the most criminal type of cargo). When people see cars with a humanitarian red cross, they cry and throw themselves around the necks of the volunteers. Thanks. Their houses are one kilometer from the first line of the Russian positions.
“In case of artillery fire, go quickly to the basement! To the building!” – shouts Maks from the “Chance for Life” Foundation, a Ukrainian volunteer working on the front line. “Remember, cluster munitions are death, it’s the worst” – he stresses, explaining that we have to be on the move all the time. When he observes us, he imitates the characteristic sound of the cluster of submunitions. It’s an alphabet here. We absorb every word like a valuable lesson. The Kharkiv front was a training ground for the Russians with the use of all sorts of variants of cluster munitions. In dropped bombs and in discharged charges. The tapes are deadly explosives spewed out by a bomb or rocket that inflict huge casualties on the civilian population, not only by the storm, but also injure civilians in a vast area of destruction. The genocidal bombings continue. We once hear a quieter, sometimes louder cascade of explosions. Fringe isolated. During the war, the Russians also used mine throwers. Combined with unexploded ordnance left over from regular artillery shells, this creates a deadly “mixture” which, hidden in the ground, can ignite at any time. Entering overgrown land, you risk no only your own life, but also civilians – children receiving humanitarian aid and traveling companions who are nearby Detonating a mine can trigger a domino explosion Only the street or the sidewalk is safe.
Kharkiv is a fortress city. Before the war, it was inhabited by 1.5 million people. Besides kyiv and Mikolajow, this is another Ukrainian city whose defenders repelled the Russian invasion in a heroic battle. Before the war, it was a dynamically developing university centre, a very young city – the streets were full of students. Kharkiv is also a kind of ecological phenomenon, because despite the heavy plants that are widely scattered in eastern Ukraine, it was an exceptionally green city, where every street is lined with beautiful flowering trees. However, when we look between the branches, we notice blackened walls, broken windows and bombed roofs of old residential houses. I go down to the basement of one of the estates of Kharkiv, at which the Russians fire furiously. Instead of sleeping in beds, people sleep in sleeping bags. Their apartment was completely destroyed, so they had to move to a makeshift basement shelter. People have nothing here but are trying to survive. And although this is another humanitarian convoy from Poland, its participants are deeply moved by the plight of the civilians. “This is our fifteenth trip to help” – says Łukasz, a volunteer who works in the logistics industry. “Believing this hell is over, we are already starting to think about helping to rebuild homes, hospitals and animal shelters. We have a wonderful team. We haven’t known each other for a long time, but we’ve bonded by a certain unbreakable bond based on mutual respect, understanding, love and willingness to help “- he emphasizes. There are not many humanitarian expeditions to the front. What was the motivation for taking such a step? “I couldn’t sit with my arms crossed when this kind of thing happened around the corner. For me, Ukrainians are brothers and sisters “- answers the volunteer Martyna.” My motivation was the extent of the damage that affects people and animals “- she says. “Hardly anyone goes there and we have such an opportunity thanks to our Ukrainian partners. We would like to go everywhere to help “- adds Sylwia, the aid organizer. Marcin, a volunteer supporting transport, also sees it as a test for the whole of Europe. These are just empty slogans. For me personally, help is something special. We have to see the enormity of the tragedy of war affecting the local community “- he said. Łukasz and Mikołaj also helped with humanitarian transport.
We leave the front. You can still hear the roar of gunfire somewhere on the front line. On the way home, a thought runs through my head – for the next few days, in makeshift shelters, on mostly empty tables covered in plaster falling from the ceiling, every time mortar grenades and artillery shells will fall by, the food will finally be there. Families will survive.
Due to the safety of Ukrainian volunteers working at the site, we do not provide the itinerary for humanitarian transport