Escaping The Horrors of War

12th October 2022
After a long contract, Capt Igor Lyubeshkin was looking forward to spending time with his family and the birth of his second child. But war in his home country of Ukraine changed everything 

At 2:30 am on February 24, I arrived in Mariupol. Everything was calm. My family was waiting for me at home – my eight-month’s pregnant wife and four-year-old daughter. We went to sleep in anticipation of the next day. But on February 24, at five in the morning, we were awakened by explosions. Friends called and said: “The war has begun.” What war? I could not believe it! My wife is pregnant, my mother is 72 years old, and my mother-in-law has cancer. We were all scared and totally confused. 

 A City in Ruins 

We moved to a private house with my wife’s family. The temperature in the rooms was 10 degrees. We all slept together on the floor. When the planes were flying overhead, we went down to the basement. It was not possible to leave; no one was allowed to leave. In many high-rise buildings, there was no longer any gas or water. One day, the food supply ran out. My brother and I decided to go to our apartment for groceries. On our way we saw broken tanks, blown up houses, and the corpses of dead people lying on the road. The city was in ruins, everything was on fire. By that time the drinking water had already run out, so we drank rainwater. We cooked food on a fire. We ate once a day in the late afternoon to keep warm, as there was still freezing weather. We slept in clothes. Our militaries opened the gas station to give out fuel. We took fuel in canisters; some people were even scooping it with their hands.  

Helpful Strangers 

When the city was completely captured by the enemies, we decided to go. We departed on 19 April. There were seven of us, including two small children. We stopped in Melitopol. After Melitopol, we went to Zaporizhzhia, stayed there for two days, and went to Odesa via Kremenchuk. Here we received help with housing. I would like to thank the Marine Transport Workers’ Trade Union of Ukraine and Oleg Grygoriuk personally. For us, the main thing was to find a maternity hospital and good doctors. It was time for my wife to give birth and we were very afraid she had to do that in a field or basement. I am very grateful to the Trade Union employees. I am grateful to the doctors with big hearts who treated us like family and did not even take money from us.  

A New Arrival 

On 29 April, our son Mikhail was born. The doctors took my wife, who went through the cesarean, into the basement on stretchers. I also ran into the basement with my baby wrapped in a blanket. Again, we felt that fear. The first hours of our baby’s life became so unpleasant, but everything is fine now. We are safe and we plan how to proceed. Special gratitude to the Mission to Seafarers and Welfare Fund MORTRANS for the financial assistance provided to our family, it will help us get back on our feet in a new place. Thanks to everyone who keeps humanity and lends a helping hand in such horrible times. Peaceful skies to all of us! As we met so many kind and sympathetic people, we realised that the victory will be ours! 

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