Hot summer day in Luch, small village between Mykolaiv and Kherson. Before the full scale invasion it had around 1000 residents, now there are a couple of dozens left, living in basements among empty destroyed houses because of constant shelling from russian positions 3km away from here. “I had an opportunity to leave, but I decided to stay here to help people” says Svitlana Gindjul, a head of the village who was responsible for distribution of Humanitarian aid in Luch. She was wounded by a fragment during the shelling of the House of Culture in Luch where she was giving away the aid. But after the treatment in Mykolaiv she came back to the village. 

Later we had a conversation with soldiers from local unit by another basement, interrupted with sudden “Wait a minute!” from one of the soldiers callsign “Ara” and we hear a whistle of a falling missile. Explosion. Few seconds and we all are in the dark basement. Here at the frontline it became a daily routine for them. Confidence and sense of humor of soldiers that’s what really inspiring optimism inside me.  Sooner or later these guys will go on a counteroffensive and try to recapture the land behind the enemy line three kilometers away. I believe that soon the lands of my country will be liberated, but not in a way russian propaganda interprets it, they will be taken back from occupiers by ordinary guys with unconventional skills and a great will to defend our land. 

On assignment for Der Spiegel.