A trip to Varvarivka with volunteers (Kharkiv region, Ukraine)

We decided to go on this “expedition” to show you, which difficulties Ukrainian volunteers encounter in order to deliver the most necessary things to the residents of the liberated territories.

The volunteer group “Piatykhatky-BAM” takes care not only of the residents of the Piatykhatky district in Kharkiv, but also of the Ukrainians living in liberated territories. Varvarivka, which is located less than 5 kilometers from the border with the Russian Federation, was one of the villages that asked them for help.

Videographers – Petr Pojman, Adam Sybera. Producer – Oleksii Svid.

Volunteers from the “Piatykhatky-BAM” organization received a request to deliver humanitarian aid to the village of Varvarivka located 5 km from the border with the russian federation. 240 people who lived in the village at that time needed bread, long-term storage products, hygiene products and a generator to the local clinic. The volunteers were able to obtain and purchase the necessary items and plan to reach the village and return in one day.

[hit] [hit] [hit] [motor sound]

Voice-over: Here you go. Even though he’s in transmission…

PP (Petr Pojman): The commanders of our humanitarian transport: Serhiy, Andriy, from the “Piatykhatky-BAM” volunteer organization. The road was planned, but, as far as I understand, they didn’t exactly work it out, because we got stuck somewhere. Can you explain to us why we did not get to Varvarivka today, where we were supposed to deliver humanitarian aid, which is very much needed on the spot? Who will answer?


AT (Andriy Tagayev): The route that was planned… Well, information has come in that shelling has been frequent there lately. Accordingly, we tried not to get under fire, so we drove …

PP: Yes, I remember that we were driving on a normal road and the first car you were in… were driving – it turned and came back, and we were at that moment … we were advised that it was better not to go there.

AT: Well, at the moment when the navigator changed this route, through the point that was mentioned… At the moment “yesterday” there was information that they were shelling there, constantly.

PP: And if tomorrow we go on the same route – this risk, it remains the same? Or will it be different tomorrow?

AT: I think it might be different.

PP: It could be different. So, it is always necessary to consider the relevance of information at the moment?

AT: Yes, at the moment. That is, the information there is 2–3 days, a week [old], it is not relevant.

PP: Not relevant, I understand that. Are there other points of view or other explanations for the situation we are in now?

SS (Serhiy Shalygin): That’s absolutely right. That’s how we go, basically. We are looking for the safest ways – they are not always the simplest. Sometimes, not always the shortest, not always the simplest. In particular, today we went through the fields. The fields are shelled out, of course. Tracked vehicles go there, large-wheeled vehicles go, well …

PP: Did you drive this road for the first time, or is it your regular route?

SS: Specifically this one – no, [we didn’t go before]. We traveled in a similar route to Vovchansk, this is a settlement not far from here. But there was no such frost and there were no these hillocks and pits. That is, there was no rut that we just fell into, like on skis. Well, this [road] is not for this car. Not quite these roads are passable, in general. The military drives jeeps like yours. But it’s certainly not for trucks.

PP: But as for the mission on which we are now, to Varvarivka. If we didn’t get there tomorrow, if it doesn’t work out – this food is not given to the people who need it, then they are really in danger of starvation?

AT: Well, yes, there is a request from the place that they have a shortage of those foodstuffs, let’s say so. Concerning the cargo that we carry.

SS: It’s not like that here, it’s not really famine here, because it’s still a village. People, however, have some gardens, grow there … Those who stayed, and who live here, keep their household plot, have some kind of animal. At the very least, they have learned to survive on this earth, that is, the earth still feeds them. That’s right, so that hunger-hunger – no. Worse with medicines, basic hygiene products. Soap, detergent, something else – this, in principle, is not there. Plus, as a rule, there is no electricity and this has been going on for 6–7 months. People live there by candlelight, homemade splinter, and so on.

OS (Oleksiy Svid): If possible, I’ll intervene a little. Because we talk a lot about what guys do. We’re not talking about, shall we say, the stuff behind the scenes of all this volunteering. Because all this is not… well, sort of… happens on a voluntary basis, and very often there are necessary in the first place some resources for people. Here we are today, how many times? We stopped three times because the car was acting up and did not want to go further, to deliver people what they need. How much do you have to spend per month, roughly speaking, to get food somewhere? How is this process going on now? Car repair, get what to carry, find out where to carry?

SS: Well, come on from the end. Car repairs are mostly at our own expense.

OS: How much do you have to [spend] on this?

AT: This is unpredictable at all.

SS: As a rule, depending on how large the load on the machine is. That is, the conditions in which the car is operated are almost extreme. Roads, as they say, are absent. That is, these are solid pits, not roads.

OS: Well, what about the biggest recent repair that was?

AT: The biggest recent repair was that it’s easier to hand over the car for scrap metal and get it to a new one.

OS: And how much did they say that [it would cost]?

SS: So to speak. Less than 100 dollars, we did not come across.

AT: So, well… Up to 800 [dollars]. From 100 to 800.

SS: Well, well … Up to 800, yes. From 100 to 800.

OS: And how do you determine … So you found out … How did you find out about what needs to be taken to Varvarivka, and what [exactly] needs to be taken?

AT: The militaries of the unit that was there – just a request for the stuff, what is needed there in the first place – they handed over to us.

SS: In general, we constantly communicate with similar organizations. Something else, somewhere someone knows, somewhere someone didn’t get there, someone was passing through, they didn’t bring something … It happened to us too. We drove to one point with a specific goal, found another point along the way, found out that there are people there … Well, something like that.

The next day we realized that we couldn’t get to Varvarivka. Fortunately, we were able to go to a nearby village where there was a mobile phone signal. We were able to get in touch with Varvarivka, and they found a car that brought them humanitarian aid from “Piatykhatky-BAM”.

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About Vira Gryaznova 8 Articles
Аналітикиня даних, дизайнерка навчального досвіду, тренерка ІЦ Майдан Моніторинг