Ukrainian health worker, of Russian origin: “This is not a war, it is an extermination”

“They are massacring my land”, asserts Ludmila. Her Russian origin does not prevent her from seeing clearly what Vladimir Putin’s forces are doing in Ukraine. A country that -highlights- “Never in history has a war started”. “That also speaks something of a people, of a nation,” she says.

When the invasion began, he admits, he had “a bit of an internal struggle.” “My homeland is Ukraine and I feel Ukrainian, but all My father’s family is one hundred percent Russian.“, he explains. That made him understand, perhaps be a little more condescending, to those who share the ideas of the former Soviet Union. They have been raised in that, that is what they know. Throughout their lives, the Russians are manipulated by the Kremlin propaganda apparatus.

For this reason, Ludmila believes that it makes no sense to judge them through the eyes of Europe. To this day, she is not even sure what her paternal family will think about the war. She though she keeps in touch, he did not want to “compromise” them. “There are certain measures that they are prohibited from speaking ill of their government or having different opinions that they are instilling in them,” he says.

Up to 15 in jail includes the latest reform of the Penal Code Russian for those who demonstrate against the actions of the Army or spread “false information” about what they call a “special military operation” in Ukraine, which is nothing other than the invasion ordered by Vladimir Putin on February 24.

“I don’t expect all Russians or most of them to go against the policy of their government,” he says. They they only have access to the information that the official channels, who deny the reality of what they are doing on Ukrainian territory. “Like when they bomb a hospital and they are told that there was a military laboratory“, he snaps.

It refers to the attack on a maternity hospital in Mariupol. Moscow tried to mask what happened by saying that there were no civilians or paramedics because it had been taken over by an Azov battalion. That is his trump card, that of the alleged Nazis of whom they want to free the ukrainians. Russia’s carte blanche to commit all kinds of “atrocities”.

Nazis in Lviv?

Ludmila is shocked to remember some of the arguments put forward by Putin and his government to invade Ukraine and “do what they are doing.” “This is not a war. It is a genocide, it is exterminating a population”, he assures. She still can’t believe the hell Russia is turning her country into, with the excuse of the Nazi threat.

“Look, I’m from the border with Poland, that is, from the part where the Nazis call us,” he explains, “and I – to this day – I really have no idea what they’re talking about“. He would like someone to explain that to him, he warns. “Because of our culture, for our language, for our country, for our land… Or is it because we want you to leave us alone (Putin),” he wonders.

She is from Lviv, her mother’s hometown and one of the most important cities in Ukraine. She began to be attacked by the Russian Army in mid-March. Although all his “blood family” is in Spain (mother, brothers and nephews), Ludmila is worried. She has friends there, college classmates, cousins ​​and other loved ones, some of them -even- fighting on the front lines.

In Lviv are his roots, it is the place where he was born and also where his parents met. She was the director of a bus terminal; he, the technical chief of the House of Culture. Ludmila grew up in an atmosphere of harmony between the two countries. Every year they went to Tver (central Russia), to see their paternal family, who used to return the visit. In fact, her grandparents spent entire weeks at her house.

The decline of Russia

Ludmila studied journalism, although she never practiced. She was soon a mother and devoted herself mainly to teaching. In 1999, he came to Spain and had to reinvent itself. Until she mastered the language, she worked as a waitress, babysitter, and found it. Afterwards, she spent many years employed by a performing arts company.

“We have brought shows from practically half the world to Spain,” she says proudly. “It’s a job that gives you a lot for personal development. I have traveled a lotI know Spain -as they say- from cover to cover”, he affirms. The tours and shows they also took him to Russia.

He has never lost contact and that has allowed him to see her process is called “decay”. “Big cities always live better,” she explains, “but the change in the countryside has been brutal.” “You go to Moscow and of course you see the wealth, the high-end cars, the luxury shops, but you don’t get soaked in what is happening” in the rest of the country.

and came to war

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Funeral of Ukrainian soldiers killed by Russian forces in Lviv, on March 31.

The clock marked 5 in the morning when a message alerted her to what was happening: “The war started”. She was shocked, “paralyzed”. She had to read it several times because she couldn’t believe what she was experiencing. “I was always telling my sister no, that you’ll see that she’s not going to attack,” she acknowledges.

She believed EU support for Ukraine would curb Putin and his sister often reminded him of what was happening in Donbas. But Ludmila saw it differently, being on the border was an easier target for “the psycho”, as she calls it. “I had a better opinion of him than he really is, of him and the whole damn government of him.” She did not believe him capable of this barbarism, in spite of everything.

Now, it pains her that she gave him the benefit of the doubt. “As much as I integrate into Spain, for many years that I live here, it will always be my land,” she asserts. “They are massacring my land”, repeat over and over again. “It’s not a war, it really is an extermination,” she insists. “As Borrell once said, wars also have rules“.

Of what use are agreements?

“Here there are no rules, all international rights have been violated, all treaties, all pacts… Even the Geneva Convention. Nothing is respected “, he asserts. Hence, she questions “what are they for”. “I ask myself this question many times, because this did not start now. What they call conflict, although they killed people, started in 2014“, it states.

The episode that occurred that year in Ilovaisk (in Donbas) comes to mind, when Russia said it was going to facilitate a humanitarian corridor to evacuate a group of people, “most of them wounded and out of action.” But she lied. He opened the door to the slaughterhouse for them, he went “a death row”.

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Protest in front of the Russian Embassy in kyiv on the 5th anniversary of the Ilovaisk tragedy, in 2019.

Ludmila cannot get it into her head that the international community does not intervene in another way, in the case of a country (Russia) that “has an army five times bigger” than the one who tries to invade unjustifiably. “Ukraine is resisting too much“, he says with regret knowing that it is costing thousands of lives.

That is why his blood boils when Putin sells his “special military operation” (alluding to the invasion) as what it is not. “They attack us as if nothing happened and on top intend to sell the bike to the international community that they are the good guys and that they are coming to save us,” he says angrily.

a macabre plan

Ludmila insists on the idea that “the war has not started a month and a half ago, it has not even started in 2014”. “It’s a macabre plan for many years“, he asserts. Putin has been advancing little by little, making moves “Step by Step” until “he reached the point where he couldn’t take any more steps, because we haven’t allowed him to.”

“Putin’s government not only has to pay for Ukraine”, remember. “He should pay for everything… For the damage he did in Armeniafor those of Georgiafor bombing Syriafor getting into Kazakhstanwhere they hate him deeply”. And he has done all this without anyone stopping him. Thus comes the invasion of Ukraine, which has been on his mind “for a long time”.

Grateful to Spain

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Alcorcón has turned to Ukraine.

Ludmila has always been grateful to Spain, her host country for more than 20 years and the one that has offered her a new life, now as a health in the dependency sector. To this day -in addition- he owes his quick response to the suffering of Ukraine and its people.

She, her sister and her friends -who have been volunteering since the beginning of the invasion- have had the opportunity to see how the Spanish people have overturned. They have received more solidarity than they could imagine. “Each person did what they could, people came crying giving us hugs, they came to ask if they could do something, they gave us transportation to be able to bring the help,” she explains excitedly.

He also has a few words for the Alcorcón City Council, the city where he lives. The Consistory -he assures- has helped them a lot. Among other things, it has provided them with various locations that they have used as aid collection points for Ukraine. “We feel very understood by your people”.

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