Unabhängigkeitsdenkmal der Ukraine in Kiew Foto: SergKh78/Wikimedia Commons

The war that changed everything

What does the war mean for young Ukrainians? The Russian attack on Ukraine on February 24, 2022 marks a turning point in the history of Europe that few in the West expected. Yet people in eastern Ukraine have been living with violence and occupation since 2014.

At the EUSTORY History Campus, young Ukrainians show what this is doing to them.

Where Were You When… the War in Ukraine Began in 2014?

„My everyday life was filled with fear. Fear for life. I did not scream anymore. The sound of the whistles became familiar. The sound of explosions became ordinary.“

Yelyzaveta

Luhansk

“When the war began, I was 12 years old. I lived in the city of Luhansk in the village of Jubilee together with my grandparents.

I was not allowed to go outside until 8 pm, because shots and explosions could be heard somewhere in the distance. I was still sleeping in the morning of July 19, when suddenly my mother came running into the house. She screamed to get up quickly and run after her. I did not understand anything, but as soon as we ran out into the street, a whistle rang out above our heads. Within seconds uncle Andrii, my mother and I jumped into the basement. And then there was an explosion. Powerful, terrible explosion. I did not restrain my emotions and yelled. I was very scared. Then there was another whistle and another explosion. And after – the dead silence… We left our shelter. Quiet…

The thought that if we left the house a few seconds later we would have been dead, was terrifying. We tried to turn on the light, but nothing happened. We did not have light for the next 3-4 months.

Now, my everyday life was filled with fear. Fear for life. I did not scream anymore. The sound of the whistles became familiar. The sound of explosions became ordinary.

We were left without light, without water. Fortunately, the neighbours had a well and they allowed us to use it. Every evening we sat at the yard table, and played board games. When it got dark, we went into the house to go to bed. The doors were left open, in case we had to hide quickly. That’s how the worst summer in my life passed…”

Yelyzaveta, Luhansk

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