Since the last time the team at CNN was on the ground in southern Ukraine six weeks ago, nothing has changed and yet everything has changed.
The heavily attacked areas are at a standstill with Russian advances as they try to move towards Mykolaiv, a strategic port city.
Constant shelling has destroyed much of the area, trapping many who cannot escape and leaving others alone.
The village of Shevchenkove was held by Russia in March, but the Ukrainian military retook it.
On Sunday (8), the CNN visited and witnessed what remains of it – damaged buildings on every road and empty houses. So much has been abandoned, but the sounds of artillery fire going back and forth continue.
More than 50% of this village is destroyed, the military escort told CNN .
The shelling starts to approach, but two neighbors walking down a gravel road continue talking, not even flinching in reaction to the sounds of explosions.
“I go out every day, the goats are waiting for me,” Lyuba says of her goats that were born when the war started. “They need me to feed them. And they give milk, of course. I call them my daughters of war.”
Shrapnel damage is visible outside the house. she showed the CNN the area where she sleeps by candlelight. She and her husband were lucky.
Driving to another village nearby, the damage looks the same. In Kotlyareve, few people walk the streets, several elderly people are seen on bicycles.
“In war I was born, and in war I will die”, said Valentina as she sat alone in her garden in the shade of a tree.
Using a cane to help her walk, she showed the CNN the damage to his home and the craters the bombing left behind.
“Look at these torments,” she said. “This house has been reduced to mud. I’m alone between four walls. Nothing anywhere.”
For many, there is nowhere else to go. Some say they are too old to leave the city. For others, it’s their homeland they don’t want to give up.
“It would be better to lie down at night and not get up. Neither hear nor see. Have pity on all the people, pity the soldiers”, added Valentina, sometimes muttering to herself.
But for mothers like Svitlana, it’s waiting for her son to return from the war in Mariupol that keeps her here.
“Our children are all at war. My son is a prisoner. If he comes back, and I’m gone, it’s like I’ve abandoned him. We hope, we hope, we worry, he is alive and we will live,” she told CNN .
Source: CNN Brasil