In Borodianka in ruins, the unbearable wait to find the bodies of the disappeared

Posted on Saturday, April 09, 2022 at 08:18

Eyes red from tiredness and tears, Antonina watches without moving a rear bulldozer as she digs up the ruins of a destroyed building in Borodianka, a small town near Kyiv that has been disfigured by Russian bombing.

Her son is missing, he lived there on the third floor. She lives in another rescued building.

The wait is unbearable for this 65-year-old mom.

On March 1, 9:30 p.m., Russian planes flew over Borodianka and dropped a bomb on the five-story building with three entrances.

From the central part, only a gap remains.

The building is truncated in the middle. In a split second, ten apartments became a pile of battered concrete and scrap metal.

“The people were in these apartments, it was evening,” says Antonina, who was dressed in a brown trench coat and a blue woolen tangle.

She sat alone on a chair, in the corner of what was a small garden at the back of the building, as if in communication with her son.

Resting her chin on her hands, who are holding a long stick, stunned, she watches construction machinery lift huge chunks of walls and rescue workers clear the rubble.

“The people who stayed in these two blocks on the sides of the building were injured but they survived. These blocks (in their structure) were not damaged. Whoever stayed here (in the middle part), they all died,” she said.

– Destroyed –

Since March 1, she has not been in contact with her son Yuri, 43.

“Maybe he managed to get out, maybe he’s injured, maybe he’s still there (under the rubble). I can’t say, I don’t know,” he told her before she burst into tears.

Scattered here and there among the ruins were shoes, a book, a water pistol, pillows, clothes, three stuffed animals, a bear, a giraffe, and a hippopotamus next to each other.

Mattress hanging on a tree branch.

On the ground floor of one of the two still standing blocks of the building, Lyubov Yarmenko’s apartment had a small balcony.

She has just put her big brown sofa inside, which she has covered with a plastic sheet, and the rain is calling itself.

It’s almost the only salvageable piece of furniture in his small four-room apartment. Inside, the explosion of the bomb destroyed everything.

The doors were ripped off their hinges, all the windows were shattered, the cupboards were toppled, the clothes were on the floor in every room, the curtains torn.

She was not there when the bombing took place, but in the basement of the building.

– 26 bodies found –

He says the seventy, tired, shocked.

“It looks like there was a family with young children in that basement, and they (rescuers) can’t get to it yet.”

In Borodianka, the main street is nothing but ruins and ruins of nearly two kilometers.

The area – which had a pre-war population of about 13,000 – was located 50 kilometers northwest of the capital, and was retaken by Ukrainian forces from the Russians at the end of March, like the rest of the area.

According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the situation in this city is “more terrible” and the “number of casualties” is greater than in Bucha, where civilians were killed.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova said rescuers had found 26 bodies in the rubble of two apartment buildings.

Opposite the central Borodianka Square, another building, this time eight stories wider, was amputated by a third. The two remaining parts were charred by the bomb, and their large fronts are all black.

Huge construction crane removing parts of walls weighing several tons.

Next to it is a large emergency ladder topped with a basket that allows two firefighters to visit each apartment in the two blocks still standing, to find the bodies.

The windows and doors were shattered and they entered straight through the facade.

“We would have liked it to be a rescue, but the bombing took place at the end of February, at the beginning of March,” Svetlana Vodolha, from the Kyiv emergency services, who is in Borodianka, regrets.

“We don’t have an exact number of people who may still be under the collapsed buildings, but we need to check everything,” she said.

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