‘We live in constant fear’ – Disabled woman exposes horror inside war-ravaged Ukraine city

Ukraine: Kherson protesters march towards Russian soldiers

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Kherson, in southern Ukraine, is one of the cities that the Russian forces have besieged and the people there have been living under Putin’s control for about one month now. The port city provides part of the land link between the Crimean peninsula, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014, and, up until the devastating war, it was home to around 280,000 people. Even though shelling has now stopped in Kherson, citizens are living in horror, under inhumane conditions, and struggle to cover their basic needs.

Tatiana Nesterova, 48, lives in Kherson and has a musculoskeletal system disability, which forces her to walk on a crutch.

She is suffering in constant pain as the Russian invasion meant she wasn’t able to get her annual treatment, which she normally takes every spring.

Access to life-saving medicine and food for the citizens of Kherson, which was the first capital of a Ukrainian region to fall into Putin’s hands, is very difficult.

Citizens stay indoors and avoid leaving their houses out of fear of the Russian soldiers, who constantly patrol all around the city.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Ms Nesterova describes the terrifying images she witnessed during the invasion.

She said: “In the first days of the war, when tanks entered our city, we were terrified.

“On the streets of the city there were shot cars with the bodies of dead people, residential buildings were fired upon.

“We had to run around shops, and pharmacies in search of food and medicine.”

Ukrainian troops fought fiercely to recover the city, but Russian forces established control of the city.

On April 18, Igor Kastyukevich, deputy of the 8th State Duma, was appointed mayor of Kherson by the Russian authorities.

During the past month, high-level Kremlin officials have been visiting the city as a demonstration of the Russian control of the area.

Ms Nesterova said: “Today, in the occupied Kherson, they don’t bomb, but life has become very difficult.

“After 3pm there are no people on the streets, they are afraid to go out. Pharmacies, shops are closed.

“Food and medicine can be bought on the market in unsanitary conditions and at several times inflated prices. People survive on vegetables.”

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Asked about how she copes with her disability, she says: “Every spring I tried to get treated, but this spring there is no such possibility.

“My body feels it, I feel constant pain in my legs that gives back to the spine.”

Ms Nesterova tells of the life in the Russian-controlled city: “We live in constant fear. Every evening, armoured personnel carriers with machine guns roam the streets.

“Yesterday a tank passed by my window and two armoured personnel carriers followed it. We try not to think what awaits us next.”

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