Russian bombs turn Ukraine border village into ‘hell’ | Russia-Ukraine war News

Wandering among the ruins, Svitlana Zavaly was desperately searching for anything that could be salvaged from the rubble of her home destroyed by a Russian bomb in northeastern Ukraine.

“We’ve got nothing left,” said the 67-year-old resident of the village of Velyka Pysarivka which lies just five kilometres (three miles) from the Russian border.

For about 10 days in March, Russian bombs, shells and rockets rained down on the village and others along the frontier, in apparent retribution for incursions into Russia by pro-Ukraine Russian fighters.

“We had everything. And in an instant, this happened. It’s a good thing we had left two days earlier,” said Zavaly.

She and her husband had returned just for the day. They are living temporarily in Okhtyrka, a town about 40km (24.8 miles) west of Velyka Pysarivka, where they were evacuated, like many other residents of the bombed areas.

Almost all the buildings in the centre of Velyka Pysarivka, which had a population of 4,000 before the war, were destroyed in waves of Russian strikes.

The fighting flared up on March 12 when Russia claimed to have repelled incursions from Ukraine in two border regions.

Not far from Velyka Pysarivka, groups of pro-Ukraine Russian volunteer fighters opposed to Russian President Vladimir Putin carried out cross-border raids, with the clashes lasting a few days.

Local authorities in Velyka Pysarivka and surrounding villages recorded 567 strikes, including 200 from powerful aerial bombs, over a fortnight. At least six people were killed and a dozen wounded.

“We left on the [March 14] … from hell. We were being bombed, planes were flying,” said Valentina, a 67-year-old resident, who was also evacuated to Okhtyrka.

Oleksiy Moroz, 38, said he knew that when the pro-Ukraine fighters launched their assaults across the border “there would be a boomerang effect”.

His wife Yulia Drokina, 33, described the non-stop air strikes that started on March 13. They left the next day “under intense bombardment … it was no longer possible to stay”.

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