Residents of the village of Kamianka, located near the city of Izyum in Ukraine's Kharkiv region, have begun returning to the village with the intent to build their lives from scratch.
"Very few people have a place to stay here for the night. Other people who try to return stay in Izyum. They ... do the repair work in their damaged houses... When the weather warms up, they also plan to return for good. We can say that life begins again in Kamianka. About 40 people are currently working on the place to prepare it for permanent stay," Alexander Spornek told Anadolu in an interview.
Spornek and his wife Svetlana returned to the village in October last year, Alexander said 1,200 people lived in the village before the war started, and most of them were farmers.
Alexander also said cars, tractors, and other equipment were severely damaged due to Russian attacks on the village, and that despite their old age, they decided to engage in agricultural work again.
For her part, Svetlana told Anadolu that they left the village on March 17 last year and were evacuated to the Donetsk region, noting that they returned to her mother's home in the village after Kamianka was retaken by the Ukrainian army.
Only three or four families are currently staying in the village, Svetlana said, adding that others come during the day to repair the destroyed houses.
"23 families come every day and clean up the debris of the destroyed houses. They clear the fields. At night, they return to their temporary accommodation. Here, only 10 people can stay in their homes at night," Svetlana said.
Describing the scenes in Kamianka after the start of the Russia-Ukraine war, Svetlana said they learned about it on TV and that they could not believe it, until attacks on the village began in early March last year.
"People went to the shelters. There were constant attacks. 30 civilians lost their lives here because of the attacks," Svetlana noted, saying Russian forces launched attacks on the village on March 2, 2022.
She said they stayed in a shelter on March 2-14 last year, adding: "On March 14, planes started flying and there was an attack. Meanwhile, there was an explosion and I fell to the ground. We survived because we were in the shelter."
Now in its second year, the war between Russia and Ukraine has so far killed 8,231 civilians and wounded 13,734 others, according to the latest UN figures.
Source: Anadolu Agency