Written by 04:12 World

She’s 98, and Walked Past Corpses to Escape Russian Attacks

When a Russian soldier appeared outside 98-year-old Lidiia Lomikovska’s shattered home in eastern Ukraine in late April, the first thing he did was shoot and kill the family dog.

“What have you done?” her daughter-in-law, Olha, 66, shouted at the Russian. “He was protecting me.”

“Now, I will protect you,” he told her, Olha recalled in an interview.

Ms. Lomikovska — who lived through a famine orchestrated by Stalin that killed millions in the 1930s and the German occupation of her town, Ocheretyne, during World War II — said she did not know why her life has been bracketed by sorrow.

But when war once again arrived at her doorstep, she knew she did not want to live under the “protection” of Russia.

As shells exploded around the town, she became separated from her family in the chaos. So she set off on foot alone. For hours, wearing a pair of slippers and without food or water, she walked past the bodies of dead soldiers, stumbling over bomb craters, unsure if her next step would be her last.

“I was walking the whole way and there was nobody anywhere, just gunshots, and I was wondering if they were shooting at me,” she said in an interview. “I walked, crossed myself, and thought, if only this war would end, if only everything would stop.”

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Last modified: 2 June 2024
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