Salvation Army assists weary residents of war-ravaged Ukrainian city
BY IVAN BEREZKIN
The Ukrainian city of Kharkiv has been constantly bombarded since the first days of the full-scale Russian invasion in February 2022.
A small Salvation Army team recently provided assistance to the residents of Saltivka, the district of Kharkiv that has suffered some of the worst destruction due to constant Russian shelling.
Despite all the hardships of life in Kharkiv, people continue residing here. The Salvation Army team, including local corps leaders, responded to community needs when some humanitarian aid arrived from overseas.
Saltivka is located next to the Russian border. For this reason, fierce battles in the first days of the full-scale invasion took place here. Even during these days, many days after the Russians were pushed out of the Kharkiv region, Saltivka remains restless and continues to suffer from Russian shelling. The people still living here have nowhere to go and are in need of care and attention.
We saw the ‘wounds and scars’ of the war everywhere during the humanitarian aid distribution to the Saltivka residents. These included lots of broken windows, smashed roofs, burned and demolished houses and, of course, lots of pain – pain that penetrates the very heart when you look into the eyes of those who continue to live here.
Yuri is one of the residents we met in Saltivka. He lives in his old house, built in 1933.
“You know, my house was not damaged at all during the German occupation during World War Two, but it was not able to survive the ‘fraternal Russian’ war. I constantly repair my home, but I don’t have time, the damage is increasing.”
To somehow support Yuri, we gave him a refugee kit – a tent; two beds, sleeping bags, tables and chairs; a gas cylinder with a stove; a kettle and essential utensils.
Yuri was surprised and moved. “Thank you for coming here to us and bringing such wonderful gifts!” he said. “Now I have a place to rest while I renovate my house. I have a place to cook and even sleep! Thank you! Your kindness gives me hope and faith in the future, because we are not alone, and the world supports us! Thank you!”
In addition to the food aid, we distributed 10 of these refugee kits. One of them was given to a 50-year-old man with disabilities, Ihor Viktorovych Davydenko. He lives in a multi-flat building which is constantly shelled.
“I am very grateful to The Salvation Army for the refugee kit,” he said. “I will use it when the heating gets cut off, or when I get my windows broken. Unfortunately, this is a very common situation for Saltivka, so most of my neighbours have left, but I stayed. Thank you for helping me!”
Oleksandr suffered a stroke a few years ago. He had a heart attack at the beginning of this (northern) autumn. He also caught our attention. His house has seriously suffered from this brutal war.
The Salvation Army in Ukraine, together with the residents of Saltivka, would like to express their sincere gratitude to everyone who has given prayer, emotional and financial support! May the Lord richly bless you and return you a hundredfold! Thank you!