Kill me, but leave the children, the Ukrainian said to the soldiers. She and her family found safety in the Czech Republic

Although Eastern Moravia is one of the places with the fewest refugees, thousands of them have also found a home here. Among the thousand and a half people who came from Ukraine to Uherské Hradiště is a family who had direct contact with Russian soldiers. “When they came to my house, I told them that we had not invited them to leave,” said Ludmila, 72, who came to the Czech Republic with her daughter and grandchildren.

“I always wanted to help refugees,” says Helena Šuranská from the old town of Uherské Hradiště, who decided to house people fleeing war in Ukraine. Now she tries to make their stay more pleasant and at the same time she sells her photos, so that she can immediately pass on all profits to “her expenses”. “I feel like we’re still going together, my husband and I are very happy about that,” he describes.

Three women and a young man have found temporary “asylum” with the Šuranskýs, namely seventy-two-year-old grandmother Ludmila, forty-seven-year-old daughter Natalie, twenty-year-old granddaughter Maria and thirteen -year-old grandson Dimitrij. When he evokes the reasons for their departure from their home, they feel how much they live their destiny with ardor but courage. And they repeat that they would like to come back as soon as possible. Although it is clear that it will not be easy.

Ludmila’s house near kyiv, where the whole family was hiding, was occupied and destroyed by Russian soldiers. The family saw them for the first time on March 8 as they drove through the village in a tank. They stopped, entered houses and said they wouldn’t touch anyone, they would just see who was inside. This is how about thirty soldiers came towards them.

“I asked them what they were doing here, and they said they came to free us from the Banderas. But we didn’t invite you here, I tell them. They said some of us needed to sleep. But I didn’t. let them go, because of the children who “They kill me, but let the children. I’m 72 years old, I’m not afraid of anything.” They turned and went elsewhere, “says the old lady, who worked as a psychologist.

His granddaughter Maria, who is studying management at kyiv International Technical University for the fourth year, points out that they did not know what to expect from the soldiers. “We were especially afraid of the first meeting. We didn’t know if they were going to shoot us or if they would let us live. Relatives begged us not to go out. “describes Maria.

At the beginning of the war, the family was in their house in kyiv, but due to the attacks on the city they moved to the suburbs, where there was still peace at that time. “We left hoping that it would be safer there. But that was not the case, we were at the epicenter of the war. to survive, we supported each other”, describes Natalia, a university cantor.

We thank you for your hospitality and welcome.

The day after the arrival of the Russian soldiers, on March 9, relatives called them to tell them that the Red Cross would operate in their town and that a corridor would be created through which it would be possible to get to safety.

“We were finally able to go out,” says Maria. In the meantime, her second daughter contacted former Czech MP Kristýna Zelienková, who during her work supported Ukraine’s integration into the European Union and often visited her. This is how the women met.

“After the start of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, I offered to help her, but they still didn’t need anything. But she called in a few days that she urgently needed help. ‘Help for three women and a bachelor.’ We will take care of them”, describes Zelienková.

When the family arrived in the Czech Republic, Zelienková’s friend Helena Šuranská helped. “We have a house under renovation, Helena did not hesitate for a second. I am really grateful to her for the way she and her husband behaved”, notes the former deputy.

A Ukrainian family whose town was occupied by Russian soldiers. The grandmother chased them out of the house, the granddaughter is afraid of her friend who defends Ukraine. | Photo: Radek Bartonicek

During an interview with the Aktuálně.cz journalist, a Ukrainian family and Czech friends are in the garden. Student Maria is having fun with her dog, my grandmother Ludmila is tasting Czech beer. “I was here fifteen years ago and I really liked it here. That’s when I came to taste your beer too. It’s beautiful with you, I like it here. We are grateful for your hospitality and your welcome,” he recalls.

Although the atmosphere is relaxed, it is clear that the guests are always thought of in Ukraine. “We want to go home,” repeats daughter Maria, nervously checking her mobile phone repeatedly. With hope and apprehension. He is waiting for a message from his nineteen-year-old friend, Bohdan, who serves in the Kyiv National Guard.

“Look, I have it in the picture here,” he points. On the phone screen is a young man in uniform, with a helmet and an assault rifle. “We met at the Fifty club in kyiv. I miss him so much. We live from message to message, we call each other for a few minutes,” he confides. The apparent carelessness when having fun with the dog is gone. His eyes were sparkling. Friday, March 25, the year they met. “I firmly believe that we will win soon and we will see each other again. There is no other option when we have such strong women and men in the army. We just have to wait a bit,” he said. -he.

Of course, they are also concerned about other parents who have not left Ukraine. My father stayed in kyiv. Nobody even knows how the grandmother’s house in the suburbs turned out. They don’t have optimistic information from acquaintances. “The Russian soldiers turned her upside down. The car we left in front of the house is a few blocks away, damaged, without wheels. The town is in a terrible state, the meadows are mined. Some houses are destroyed”, says student Maria .

The Ukrainian family thus thanked the man who auctioned off a photo of their Czech hostess, who gave them the money.

The Ukrainian family thus thanked the man who auctioned off a photo of their Czech hostess, who gave them the money. | Photo: Facebook by Helena Šuranská

“Even so, we want to go home as soon as possible,” he adds confidently. Although he doesn’t know when that will happen. Helena Šuranská assures that she will keep the Ukrainian family at home as long as necessary. She always wanted to help refugees. Even at a time when he was not popular with Czech audiences. For example, during the wave of refugees from Syria.

“At that time, I was ashamed of our country because our politicians refused to accept anyone. Even children from the island of Lesvos who had no parents,” says Shuranska. At least then, with other volunteers, she founded an association that financially supports the organization that takes care of these orphans.

And it also helps new friends in Ukraine with money. He auctions off his photo on Facebook every week. He passes the profits on to them. “I’m really happy with it. When they go for a walk, I see how happy they are to be able to buy something,” says Šuranská, refusing to do anything special. “I think it’s okay to help.”

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