The only thing they took with themselves during the escape from a war devastated Ukraine was their body. Their spirits stayed back home. These are 11 women whose reason to exist is a belief in justice - a belief in freedom and in the end of the vile aggressor and his companions, in the end of this bestiality. Branislav Simoncik visited the Zilina Refugee Camp, in northwest Slovakia, and questioned them with his camera.
Svetlana Ovrashko (41), Dolynska, working at camera checking security
We feel your help, your thoughts, and this energy is extremely strong. Please pray for us and don't stop. Think of our women, children, men, soldiers defending freedom – that is all we have.
Kristina Shovkovska (34) and daughter Sasha (3 months), 34, Mykolaiv, maternity leave
My husband stayed in Ukraine. I am here with a three-month-old daughter and two sons, they are 4 and 8 years old. I wake up every morning believing it will end well. I only ran away with the kids and diapers. And hope.
Kateryna Antoniuk (20), Iziaslav, student at Department of Air Transport, Faculty of Operation and Economics of Transport and Communication
I ask people all over the world if they have someone around them who still thinks that there is no war in Ukraine, to do everything so that they are not indifferent to misinformation. Only together and relentlessly can we change the madness that is happening.
Alla Sachenok (57), Odessa, lawyer
When I hear the word Ukraine, I see my family back home. I thought I would stay abroad just for a week, but now it is more than a month. My faith fulfills my whole essence. Love and support of the people around help me to forget for some seconds the pain.
Iryna Sherko (56), Pokrovsk, auditor
I wish that no-one in the world will experience the same thing we do. Let live all together in peace.
Viktoriia Ovrashko (19), Dolynska, student of psychology at Kryvyi Rih State Pedagogical University
When we ran away, we packed only our own lives. And then two cats, we had to leave the dog at home. But in fact we left everything there. Thanks for every single good that comes together in an invincible greatness.
Kateryna Martyniuk (36), Pokrovsk, Probation in law, came to the camp with two sons Ivan (7) and Alexandr (15) and with mother Alexandra (56)
My heart is pounding when I see how everything we have lovingly built ends in ruins. But I do not lose hope. Without faith life would be senseless.
Iryna Minaiieva (40), Pokrovsk, teacher at music school
What did I pack with me on the run? Sebe. Myself. My children. My husband and the whole family stayed in Ukraine.
Lena Kusnir (52), grandson Vladislav (6), Kropyunytsky, saleswoman
Slava Ukraine! Everything else is unimportant at this point. I ran away with my daughter and grandson. The whole family, son, son-in-law, bride, and friends stayed at home.
Mariia Inviiaieva (37), coming from Volnovakha, the Donetsk Oblast, lived in Kyiv, teacher at High School, director of theater
The only thing I packed with me was my cat Manu. I want to say one thing. I apologize for running away from Ukraine, not being there with mine. I want them to know that even though I'm not there with them, I'm with them every second of my being. Since February 25, I have had no contact with my family.
Elmira Akhmodova (26), Dolynska, food laboratory analyst
When I ran away, I only took my body with me, my soul is still in Ukraine.
Translated from the original on The Quote Issue, published in April 2022.
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