‘They were very good people’: Ukrainian woman finds her in-laws dead in the street | world news

Without warning, heartbreak descended on the residents of a sleepy, woodsy street on the edge of a small neighborhood in eastern Ukraine.

The war had barely touched Bakhmut, but in a mighty explosion that would change everything.

The shock wave from the airstrike was so great that it shook buildings for miles around, including the place where we were staying in the center of the city of Ukraine.

When we arrive, people are in front of what remains of their house, some in dressing gowns.

Looking at the devastation, it’s hard to understand how many of them survived.

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Two people, who we later find out are a retired couple called Lyuda and Volodymyr, weren’t so lucky.

Their lifeless bodies lie in the street, simply covered with blankets.

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Russian airstrike toppled apartments in Bakhmut. Photo: AP
Bakhmut
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Debris litters the neighborhood

Ahead of them is a mountainous pile of rubble and wood – this was once their home.

All the people are distraught, but one woman stands out as she stumbles across this hellish landscape.

His balance sometimes falters.

Fighting your way around the enormous bomb crater is difficult.

It is a huge gaping hole in the ground, several meters deep and several meters wide.

As she approaches the bodies, you can feel the brutality of her shock and grief.

Tears stream down her cheeks, her eyes are dark with grief.

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Her name is Nadia and the dead are her relatives, whom she and her husband have come to identify.

Lifting the covers confirms what they didn’t want to be true.

“They were my in-laws. They were kind and very good people.

“We were talking on the phone just four or five days ago and I was asking him for seeds. We were talking on the phone,” she said, her voice shaking with shock.

Everyone here is traumatized, damaged by a conflict they didn’t want and are powerless to stop.

Natalya, whose son Vasily’s house was destroyed, does not understand why this happened.

She is upset.

“Why not America, why not Australia, no one is helping us. They don’t give us rockets. They don’t give us tanks to shoot at them to prevent this from happening. Why is no one defending us? “

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It’s a feeling a lot of people have here – whatever weapons the West provides, they just aren’t enough.

Debris was blown around the neighborhood and bits of fabric, clothes maybe, flaps in the trees.

Vasily seems calm but, like everyone else, he is frightened by what has happened.

His house is in ruins and he doesn’t know where he will live with his wife and three children.

Photo: AP
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The bomb crater easily overshadows a local man. Photo: AP

He is overwhelmed by the magnitude of what has happened, but he is alive.

Somehow, her whole family escaped, even though she was sleeping inside at the time.

“I can’t even describe how terrifying it was. I understand people see more terrifying things but this was the first time I’ve seen such a thing and I’m still in shock and can’t put it into words to describe that feeling,” he said nervously.

With its military advance stalled, Russia’s bombing campaign in eastern Ukraine is intensifying.

And as a woman salvages what she can from the kitchen of her family home, she tells me there were no weapons or soldiers nearby.

“It’s a war crime. Yes, it’s a war crime. Nobody needs it, nobody. Will anyone be held responsible for this – who will be responsible for the people who were killed and those who die,” she said, her voice high with anger.

It’s just a street in a city that’s paying the price for the Kremlin’s aggression.

But with people across the country bracing for more attacks, there will be many more lives destroyed as Russia launches what appears to be a new offensive.

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