Потрібна юридична консультація? Наш юрист надасть її безкоштовно

From occupation to almost nowhere: a pensioner from Kherson oblast was helped to find his relatives

Publication date: April 11, 2024

Author: Tetiana Pliasunova, lawyer of NGO “Agency for Democratic Development of Donbas”.

Tetiana Pliasunova, lawyer of NGO “Agency for Democratic Development of Donbas”.

A pensioner from the occupied Kherson oblast had a hard time getting to his relatives in the Zaporizhzhia oblast, almost blindly: the russians confiscated his cell phone with his family’s contacts at a checkpoint. After arriving in Zaporizhzhia via the Baltic States, he had to ask the first people he met at the train station for help.

Dmytro Mykolaiovych* left his village in the Kherson oblast at the beginning of 2023, when the settlement was already occupied by russians. It was difficult for a single man (Dmytro is a widower) of almost 70 years to leave his home. But diabetes and a lack of medicine forced him to make a difficult choice: to die alone in agony or to decide to evacuate.

After making his decision, Dmytro went to his neighbors and asked them to help him contact his late wife’s relatives who lived in Zaporizhzhia oblast, as he had not had cell phone service for several months. The neighbor’s daughter could contact the family, who were waiting for him, via the Internet.

But getting to his family proved difficult and exhausting for Dmytro, who had to travel through the Baltic states. At one of the russian checkpoints, Dmytro’s cell phone, which contained the contacts and addresses of his Ukrainian relatives, was confiscated. Unfortunately, Dmytro did not foresee this development and did not copy important information on paper.  

He managed to get to Zaporizhzhia. When he arrived at the railway station, he was baffled and did not know what to do next. All he could remember were the names and surnames of his relatives. He could not even remember the name of the village where they lived.

Then, a cleaner saw the elderly man desperately looking for someone to talk to at the train station. She took him to the office of the NGO “Agency for Democratic Development of Donbas”, which has moved and is now working in Zaporizhzhia.

Our organisation’s volunteers contacted the police, who helped us find the address of Dmytro’s family. But first, we took the man to the hospital, where he underwent a complete examination and was given medicine to normalize his general condition. After the examination, our volunteers helped him get to his relatives.

We call Dmytro Mykolaiovych occasionally to check on his life and support him. Now, he is doing well. He hopes for a quick victory and a return home.

*Name changed for ethical reasons.

The material was created with the support of the international charity platform GlobalGiving and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. The publication’s content is solely the responsibility of the Legal Development Network.

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