“Yesterday I spoke with a Majorcan friend. I told him that we Ukrainians are defending our land, our traditions, our houses, our culture and our history, and these are not just words, they are feelings”. Olena

Baluba describes her daily life in Oleksandriya, a Ukrainian city of 80,000,000 inhabitants, in the Kirovograd region, more than 300 kilometers from Kiev, where there is still a certain tranquility because “Putin is interested in big cities.”

However, the tension is palpable in the atmosphere, more than anything at sunset. “We try to have as normal a life as possible. We have no bombing. But we are in times of war and so at 5 in the afternoon we turn off the lights and close the blinds until the next day because the light is very good from the planes. This way it is more complicated for the Russians to know where the houses are”, he points out.

Olena Baluba at her house in Oleksandriya

Olena is a Spanish teacher at a school in the Ukraine. The last time he visited Spain was in 2019 and he spent many seasons in Mallorca for several years. He says that Oleksandriya is a lively city with charming and hospitable people.

It highlights its restaurants and entertainment venues, as well as libraries, cinemas and museums. “I’m not going to work. Employees of companies and the town hall, doctors and nurses for now go. Now I have two weeks of vacation, then we’ll see what happens. No one can know,” he adds.

With the beginning of the invasion, he took an active position in social networks. He writes, shares information because “the world needs to know the real things that are happening here and not what Russian television says” and donates money to the account of the Ukrainian military. “I am not part of the army, but I am with the boys morally. I have them in my mind all the time, I think about them, I pray”, he says with a small voice.

And immediately he recovers: “I am not part of the army, but I am with the boys morally. I have them in my mind all the time, I think about them, I pray, ”she says with a small voice. And she immediately recovers: “What I am going to tell you now is very important. There is a lot of false information. I would like to clarify one thing. The Russian army has victims and is hiding them. They did not expect the response of our army. Of course we have problems. The Ukrainian army had to blow up a couple of bridges to keep the Russian tanks out. It is also true that they have done a lot of damage to our infrastructure.”

Olena says that Ukraine protects democracy and laws, that it is a multicultural country in which Russians, Hungarians, Bulgarians and Poles live, among other nationalities, and that freedom of expression is respected. “We can protest if we want and nobody jails us for it. Of course, a neighbor like that is not convenient for Putin”, she concludes.

A family of Ukrainians walks down an empty street. Photo: RTVE.