The border between Russia and Ukraine that separates families is also now on the forefront

However, the damage suffered by Shebekino pales in comparison to Vovchansk, which had a population of 17,000 before the war but now resembles other cities completely destroyed by Russian assaults. Kharkiv itself has been hit by glide bombs that can carry hundreds of kilograms of explosives; most recently, an attack on a hardware hypermarket that killed at least 12 people.

Back in Grayvoron, Valentina remembered how she could visit her daughter and grandchildren in Ukraine exactly an hour’s drive away. This was before the borders closed due to Covid and then the war. She still speaks fondly of her friends and neighbors.

But even as she has soured on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — she initially supported him because of his promises to mend Kiev’s relationship with Moscow — she can’t shake the feeling that her relatives in Ukraine understand the war the way they do. which those in Moscow do not do. do not do it. ‘T.

He mentioned the brutal attack by Islamic State followers on the Crocus City Hall concert hall near Moscow on March 22, which killed more than 140 people. Her relatives in Moscow called her, expressing shock and horror. But this happened while Grayvoron was under heavy attack, shortly after the local market had been hit.

“When they called me because I was grieving so much for Crocus, I said ‘Forgive me, but we have Crocus here every single day,’” she said. “I feel sorry for the people, but I can’t tell you that I’m really devastated, because I live here.”