Irpin’ resident Kateryna Ilchenko shared her memories and details about Russian bombardment that destroyed her parents’ home and left her mother buried under the rubble.

I have come back to my senses and am writing now in Russian for which I have a couple of reasons.

This is my parents’ house in Irpin’. My father had constructed it with his own hands. After the university he found himself in Russia though he did wish to come back to Ukraine. It wasn’t an easy task back then as no free workforce market existed in those days. [He moved] from Sterlitamak to Volgograd, from Volgograd to Kyshynev, and finally, from Kyshynev to Kyiv. He refused to move in a flat offered to him as construction of a house had always been his dream.

My mother is a Russian and she came from Cheliabinsk. It was the place where I was born. Our relatives still live there. When my mother had her last telephone talk with her brother just a few weeks before the war, he mentioned how much he liked Putin though he didn’t approve of all his decisions. My mother was indignant at the words she heard, she couldn’t imagine anybody saying that as she thought him to be a murderer.

When the war broke out, her brother didn’t call. I was told that he was worried about the latest developments and went to church to light candles for peace.

On the 8th of March our house was shelled. My mother was inside.

Inside the house that had hosted so many guests. Where I grew to be a pupil, and then – a student. My friend kept recalling those meals they were treated with in that house. The house our relatives from Russia came visiting. They really liked it. The fresh pine trees air of Irpin’, Kyiv, our hospitality.

That remaining window on the left.. it is my room. We had a big collection of books, my university books, photographs. The living room was downstairs. This is wher we set the table, our family had gold German dinner set my father had bought at the exhibition in the 1970s in Moscow, our guests would look at it with awe and admiration. Not a single thing from my personal story survived. Not a single object or photo. And my mother is gone…What is there left for me is pure hatred.

This part of the town is now the very epicenter of fierce combat. You can’t go there, clean the debris, and bury.