Pitsmoor women tell of horror facing family and friends in Ukraine

Two women have shared the obstacles their families are facing in Ukraine as bombings continue.

Georgian-born Shorena Kokoshvily, 45, who now lives in Pitsmoor was in tears as she recalled a friend’s death and the ongoing battle her family has been going through.

Her cousin’s son and his family lost their house and had to hide in the basement for several days when Russia started bombarding Ukraine.

From a town near Kyiv, the family travelled to Odessa on 8 March to cross the border. To do so they had to take the train, but due to artillery bombardment they had to go back into hiding in the basement.

Shorena was born in Georgia where she witnessed the invasion of the Russians back in 2008. She said that back then, the Russians were saying to their people that they were going to Georgia to save the Georgians who were going through a genocide.

Shorena said: “The Russians are doing the same thing they did to my country.”

The 45-year-old said that Putin said the same thing towards Ukraine and that “the only ones who can stop this are the Russians themselves”.

She had a friend who was taking care of 18 stray dogs she rescued throughout the years. When the war started, she wanted to leave at first but later changed her mind because she didn’t want to leave them behind.

Shorena was in tears as she said: “My friend said that she would leave but changed her mind to take care of the dogs. She is dead now.”

Natalie Melnik, 52, also from Pitsmoor, said, referring to the Russians: “They’re not even respecting the green corridor.”

Natalie’s family managed to arrive in Poland but the men are still in Ukraine, fighting for their country.

She said that is how she found out that Russians have been attacking the green corridor as well, which was supposed to be a safe passage for Ukraininans to cross the border.

Shorena said that her family has been updating her whenever they can through text messages. The latest update she had was them telling her that they will try to cross the border again on the night of 5 March.

Written by Ornella Bressan

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