Ukraine calling

15 kilometers – part nine


By Yevgenia “Jane” Laptii 

My name is Jane. I am a photographer from Ukraine. The war caught up with me when I was in my village, Cherkas’kiy Tyshky, with my grandfather and grandmother. We were occupied instantly on February 24, 2022, at 6 a.m.

15 kilometers is the distance that separated our village, which is under occupation by Russian forces, and Kharkiv, which is held by Ukrainian troops.

My village, which is between Kharkiv and the Russian border, is still under occupation. I managed to escape, but I spent twenty days there, which I will describe in this weekly column.




You can gradually get used to bombs. In the course of time, you even start wishing them to come. Silence is full of tension. You constantly wait to hear a Boom. When the bomb is flying by, you listen attentively whether it passes by. It does not matter whether it hits something, hearing it is a pleasure. You feel an adrenaline rush, your body shrinks, it clings to the ground and relaxes in a minute. Then you feel blissful goose bumps, while you continue listening, trying to guess where the bomb is coming from. It gets closer. It is ready to explode, to bury itself into the ground, and then it will be gone. Maybe this time I’ll be gone too. I feel bliss running through my veins; it’s the purest pleasure. 

The closer the explosion, the bigger the pleasure. It spreads through the body like a sweet nectar. It fills the body with life, such a real and strong life that you feel like an almighty, unbreakable creature, as if you can crumple a bomb like a piece of paper. 

Silence is annoying, like an intrusive bug that flies around, irritating you. You can not get rid of it. But then you hear another bomb coming. What a bliss. Blessing nectar spreads through the body. Again. Golden light pierces through, and you run away from the bomb. 

“You cannot catch me, you cannot kill me”, you think. 

I miss the singing of my bombs. They used to fill my body with crystallized life.

There are 250 thousand white lilacs growing in my garden. Though there is no garden anymore. 

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