BBC showed life in the ruined Kharkiv Saltovka (photo)

The once vibrant area with a population of up to 800 thousand people has now turned into a desert, people are forced to survive in broken houses and build summer kitchens.

The Kharkiv district of Saltovka has become one of the centers where Russian troops constantly strike. Among the ruins, the inhabitants continue to survive there and beyond. BBC journalists showedwhat’s left of the area.

With the outbreak of a full-scale war, life on Saltovka turned into a lottery, the authors write: they flew to one house, not to another. One apartment turned into ashes, the next was untouched. Every month the number of surviving buildings is getting smaller and smaller. Now Saltovka has turned into a ghost town.

destruction on the saltovka

Every month the number of surviving buildings is getting smaller and smaller.

Local residents have already learned to recognize by sound and fragments what shells and missiles are being fired at. Among them, the RF Armed Forces widely use banned cluster munitions and unguided rockets.

what's left of the salve

Local residents have already learned to determine by the sound what the shelling is from.

“Saltovka is now like Chernobyl. Of course, there was radiation in Chernobyl, not destruction. We don’t have radiation, but everything around is destroyed. It’s impossible to live here,” says 44-year-old Sergei Khristich, washing his face with water from a plastic bottle.

And yet people live here, in houses without gas and water, in some places only one or two tenants in a building of 60 or more apartments. Last week the electricity was turned back on in some houses, several people returned from subway stations or other shelters. But this is still an insignificant part of the pre-war population of Saltovka, ranging from 500 to 800 thousand inhabitants.

Russian invasion

Tamara’s husband died due to stress in March

Retired Tamara says her husband died in March due to stress. Now she lives practically alone in the whole house, she does not even have the desire to go outside. In the same house lives a car mechanic Valery Ivanovich, who has lived on Saltovka for 20 years. He was lucky because the apartment was practically not damaged, except for the fragments that broke the windows and the washing machine with the wall in the bedroom.

saltovka houses,

Valery Ivanovich’s apartment was practically not damaged

“Almost no one lives in this house anymore, there is only one couple, a man, a woman and me,” said Valery. “People sometimes come to pick up things, but they don’t stay.”

The shell hit this house from the other side, bringing down several floors. It may have to be demolished as it was badly damaged. Valery himself says that he would not want all these houses to be demolished, he is very used to this place.

Saltovka turned into a desert

It was this phrase that Leon Petrosyan said while driving a car to distribute food to people. Due to the lack of utilities, residents create impromptu summer kitchens. Volunteers from World Central Kitchen come here once a day to distribute food to people.

how do they live on the saltovka

Leon Petrosyan delivers food to people by car

“Food delivery is a lifeline for the few residents of Saltovka. Now there are no open stores, and for many it is the only food they eat every day,” the authors write.

The Russians tried to capture Kharkov in the first days of the invasion, and Saltovka bore the brunt of the assault. Ultimately, the invaders were driven back, and now the front line runs about 20 km from the city center. But Saltovka remains within range of Russian artillery, a reality that cannot be ignored due to daily shelling.

At the same time, the journalists talked to a pro-Russian resident of the city. Boris Rustenko, 63-year-old glazier, born in the USSR. His house was badly damaged and burned down. He says that where there are no Ukrainian soldiers, Russians do not shoot there.

“If Russia hadn’t attacked Ukraine, Ukraine would have attacked Russia, Crimea, Donetsk, Luhansk. It’s very simple, Russia is ahead,” Boris said.

life in Kharkov

According to Boris, if Russia had not attacked Ukraine, then Ukraine would have attacked Russia

Boris, like many residents of Kharkov, has relatives in Russia. Another resident, Aleksey, 69, says that Russia is not the only one to blame for the war. The West should stop giving weapons to Ukraine because it only prolongs the war.

Recall that the Kharkiv OVA stated that evacuate the city prematurely. Ukrainian military keep the situation at the front.

Earlier, President Zelensky said that Russia is trying to find forces for an attack on Kharkov and Slavyansk.

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