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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

“Everything Was Blown Away” — In Dnipro, Voices Of The Survivors

A Ukrainian reporter on the scene of one of the worst attacks on civilians since Russia's invasion began.

Photo of rescuer workers taking away a corpse in Dnipro

The victims of Dnipro

Viktoria Roshchyna/Ukrainska Pravda
Victoria Roshchyna

DNIPRO — I met Oleg in one of the hospitals in Dnipro. His body was covered with wounds and scratches.

Oleg was with his wife in their apartment in a high-rise building in this central Ukrainian city on what seemed like an ordinary weekend. Then a Russian missile hit — and they miraculously survived, among the 75 wounded. As of Monday morning, 40 of their neighbors are confirmed dead, and at least 35 still missing.

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Oleg tries to piece together the moment of the strike:

"There was a long explosion. Everything was blown away," he recalls. It is still difficult for him to speak and keep his eyes open for any extended time, because of burns and wounds from the glass.

"We could not leave the apartment by ourselves because the door collapsed. Rescuers got us through the window of the 4th floor. I am glad that I am alive and that my wife is fine. I thank our rescuers, medics, and the Armed Forces. I hope everything will be fine," Oleg says on Sunday, still apparently under shock.

Hell in front of my eyes

A doctor at the Dnipro hospital recalls the moments after the first reports came in: "Three people died here in the first hour after the attack; eight are in the intensive care unit," he says.

"Surgeons removed stones, pieces of concrete, and metal fragments from the wounds of the head, chest, abdomen, and limbs. We transfused more than 20 liters of blood."

I flew across the room, and that's it.

The head and hands of Natalia are scratched and bandaged. She too was in her apartment unit Saturday afternoon when the missile hit. Her injuries did not require she stayed in the hospital, and I met her as she waited in line to write a statement to the police about the Russian crime.

"I was standing in the kitchen. And at that moment - "bang," and everything just flew. I did not hear an explosion or anything. I just suddenly flew across the room, and that's it. Frames, glass - everything fell on me,” she recalled. “My hand was bleeding; my head was bleeding. I ran out, and everything was lying there - concrete, doors, partitions. I do not know how I got through with my dog. I live on the ninth floor. I ran out and shouted "Help!" to the rescuers."

While coming down from the ninth floor, Natalia heard people screaming and moaning.

"As long as I live, I will remember them,” she said. “Today I could not close my eyes for a single second... I'm lying here, and I see this hell in front of my eyes! Damn those creatures. I feel nothing but hatred and pain."

Photo of Searching through the rubble of the Dnipro apartment

Searching through the rubble of the Dnipro apartment

Viktoria Roshchyna/Ukrainska Pravda

Everything collapsed

Yulia lived on the second floor. "When the doors, windows, clouds of smoke were flying... What did we do? Shock, and then we started running out - barefoot, naked," she recalled.

"When we ran out, everything collapsed. We barely managed to break through."

Also waiting to give a statement to authorities, Yulia admits that she still does not understand what happened. "In one moment, we lost everything..." - she sighs bitterly.

Another woman survived all night under the rubble. Rescuers stopped several times to locate the sound of her voice and coordinate actions. She was taken to the hospital immediately.

"She can make sounds," the doctors explained. “But she does not hear us.”

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Making It Political Already? Why Turkey's Earthquake Is Not Just A Natural Disaster

The government in Ankara doesn't want to question the cause of the high death toll in the earthquake that struck along the Turkey-Syria border. But one Turkish writer says it's time to assign responsibility right now.

photo of Erdogan at the earthquake site

President Erdogan surveys the damage on Wednesday

Office of the Turkish Presidency
Dağhan Irak


ISTANBUL — We have a saying in Turkey: “don’t make it political” and I am having a hard time finding the right words to describe how evil that mindset is. It's as if politics is isolated from society, somehow not connected to how we live and the consequences of choices taken.

Allow me to translate for you the “don’t make it political” saying's real meaning: “we don’t want to be held accountable, hands off.”

It means preventing the public from looking after their interests and preserving the superiority of a certain type of individual, group and social class.

In order to understand the extent of the worst disaster in more than 20 years, we need to look back at that disaster: the İzmit-Düzce earthquakes of 1999.

Because we have before us a regime that does not care about anything but its own interests; has no plan but to save itself in times of danger; does not believe such planning is even necessary (even as it may tinker with the concept in case there is something to gain from it); gets more mafioso as it grows more partisan — and more deadly as it gets more mafioso.

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