We want to share a story unlike any before. Before the war, Svitlana Filipenko was a private entrepreneur in Kharkiv, an organizer of events and creative initiatives and spaces. The war started for Svitlana and her partner (Stanislav) at the dacha in the village of Lyptsi.

The light was turned off first. There were no power banks. We were left with a stove and firewood (which was not there). They called only the parents in the morning to find out and inform them that everyone is alive. On the 2nd day, russian soldiers were already seen, who began to move into neighboring houses. As it turned out, it was “technical support”.

The first contact happened very strangely. The soldiers said that they were on training and were “simply sent here”. Why – they did not say. And then the soldiers began to appear. And they constantly shelled Kharkiv from the side of the township.

Since the shelling began on March 15-16, people began to leave – evacuate to belgorod. The military did not let them into Ukraine, they offered to go only in the direction of Russia. But Svitlana and Stas did not have any personal documents – only the Diya application.

When leaving, they spent 9 hours with an unknown man who was just driving in the direction of belgorod, and were dropped off at a gas station where the initial reception of refugees took place.

The night was spent in an inflatable station. There were about 200 people there: people with contusions, children and the elderly, families. In the morning, in belgorod, it turned out that this bus was going to voronezh, and the couple had 10 minutes to make a decision: to go further or stay. Realizing that the airports in belgorod and other border towns were already closed, they decided to go on.

The parents were able to come to Kharkiv despite the shelling, broke the door to the apartment, and took their documents. Then documents traveled the following route: Kharkiv – Lutsk – Warsaw – Tallinn – moscow – voronezh. The volunteer girl took Svetlana and Stas from the camp by car, bought train tickets, and they went to st. petersburg. There they had a minibus to the border with Estonia. The couple crossed the border and left russia.