The (Broken) Road to Chernihiv

[Late-April 2022]

The Chernihiv region in Ukraine endured 37 days of heavy combat and shelling, starting on February 24 as the invasion began, with over 300 people killed and over 1,000 injured. In the city of Chernihiv and in the surrounding suburbs and villages, many buildings were reduced to rubble, and many people suffered from atrocities – murder, torture, rape, and marauding.

You can help bring more aid to Ukrainians in need with a donation to the MWB Ukrainian Emergency Crisis Appeal

Mission Without Borders visited this area nine days after the Russian troops had left Chernihiv region for eastern Ukraine. Our staff delivered 150 food parcels and 150 hygiene parcels.

One of the first villages visited in the region was Krasne. The road to Krasne village is full of burned-down military equipment and broken civilian cars. Russians were shooting civilian cars when people tried to escape the area. Also, everywhere there are signs of destruction caused by horrific weapons and rockets of all types.

Russian military equipment litters the roads throughout the region

In the village itself there is a lot of destruction caused by air bombs: houses reduced to piles of rubble, tractors totally destroyed. For 37 days the village was heavily bombed. It was impossible for most people to escape as the invasion happened so suddenly and without warning. For 37 days, people lived in constant fear, knowing that a rocket or shell could hit their house at any moment. One woman says that her house burned down in just five minutes. Now she lives at her neighbour’s. A lot of people died here during this time.

The people are afraid that the Russians will come back – but they also trust the Ukrainian army and believe in victory.

There is no way of buying food here. Most of the bridges are burned down and the roads are full of mines.

One of the MWB staff who visited the village said, “In the midst of the war, the people here are so grateful that MWB has come to deliver food parcels. Their gratitude is so sincere. The war has made most Ukrainians feel that they are all related to one another, and we can see it in each other’s eyes.”

The next stop was the village of Yahidne – where over 300 people, including children and elderly people – were locked into a room for over a month by Russian troops.

On the way to Yahidne there are more shot-up civilian cars. Yahidne was under Russian occupation, and its tragic story has been spreading over social media and the news recently.

The village saw heavy combat, with many killed and lots of houses destroyed. When Russian troops captured the village, they locked roughly 370 villagers into a small room. Once a day, soldiers allowed people to go to the toilet. The space was so small that some of the men slept standing up to allow space for children and elderly people to lie down – they did this by tying themselves to the wall. There were little children and babies there too. Around ten elderly people died during this time because they had no access to medicine and it was difficult to breathe because of the overcrowding and the lack of fresh air.

Meanwhile, Russian soldiers lived in the people’s houses and left them ransacked, stealing and breaking everything they could. It is reported that ten civilians were shot and killed in the village by soldiers.

The next day the team visited the city of Chernihiv, which was heavily bombed and shelled for 37 days. The Ukrainian army defended the city and did not let the enemy inside. The town was horrendously destroyed. Officials say more than 200 people died and hundreds more were injured. Some neighbourhoods and villages in the region were destroyed to nothing but rubble. Many people who survived moved to neighboring villages.

A MWB staff member said, “As we gave out the food and hygiene items, we witnessed about Christ, listened to people, hugged them and cried with them. People hope and pray that the war will not come back here. They are thankful for our help – it is highly valued here. We could not do much during such a short visit, but we are happy we could do at least something. Ukraine is in unspeakable need right now and Ukrainians will never forget the love and support of people from other countries.”

Delivering Aid to Ukrainians after Russian troops destroy their villages

You can help bring more aid to Ukrainians in need with a donation to the MWB Ukrainian Emergency Crisis Appeal