Ukrainian couple describe months under ground amid Russian attacks

  • World
  • Tuesday, 29 Nov 2022

Ludmila Syabro, 61, stands next to her dog L'ourse where she and her husband Victor, 68, live, despite the fact that their home was mostly destroyed by shelling in the summer and their garden was hit as recently as last week as the town continues to receive shelling on a daily basis in Siversk, Donetsk region, Ukraine, November 28, 2022. Despite no power, water or services and daily shelling, Victor Syabro says they will not leave because it’s their land, where Victor was raised and where five generations have lived. REUTERS/Leah Millis

SIVERSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - Viktor and Ludmila Syabro, 68 and 61 respectively, first started living underground at least seven months ago as Russian assaults shattered their eastern Ukrainian hometown of Siversk.

The wisdom of the couple's choice seemed clear in July, when they told Reuters a missile struck the house, but they were already in the basement.

For Ludmila, events since the February invasion are a bit of a blur. She can barely remember when they stopped living upstairs.

"More or less from April," she said. "End of March, end of April. April 9. It's hard to remember. The power was cut off April 27."

Without water or gas, the couple hope to install a wood-burning stove to make life underground more bearable as winter approaches.

The sound of artillery is constant in Siversk, parts of which have been razed to the ground.

Only a few of the more than 10,000 inhabitants remain. Russian forces have repeatedly tried to retake the town that is 6 miles (10 km) from the frontline.

(Reporting by Vladislav Smilianets and Anna Dabrowska, Writing by Elaine Monaghan, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

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