war stories irpin russian rape kill civilians


First-hand accounts

Editor’s Note

Anastasia Taran, 30, tells how she managed to escape the Russian-occupied city of Irpin near the capital Kyiv, where, she says, the Russian troops kill and rape locals. Russian troops entered Irpin in the first days of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the first locals were able to flee only several days later, on 5 March, on foot since all the bridges connecting the city to the area of Kyiv were destroyed.

“Irpin is Hell. There are plenty of Russian soldiers out there who just shoot people who enter private homes and, at best, just kick people out of their homes. They rape women and the dead are just being dumped. They open the basements where people are hiding and shoot them,” said 30-year-old Anastasia Taran, who worked as a waitress until recently and currently writes tips on Instagram on how to get out of the occupied city.

Anastasia managed to escape her russian-occupied city

Russian occupation survivor Anastasia Taran, 30, from Irpin, Kyiv Oblast, and her cat. Photo: FB/War. Stories from Ukraine

“Our checkpoint is in front of the bridge, you have to be very careful there because the occupiers shoot at it. We came under mortar fire, the explosions were 50-100 meters from us. You have to listen carefully to the instructions of our soldiers: if they shout ‘sky,’ it means that you have to hide, if they shout ‘run,’ it means that you have to flee to the next shelter.”

Anastasia is from Enerhodar, she had lived in Irpin for the last four years. It was there the war caught her. The girl and her husband spent a week without communication, access to the internet, electricity, heating, or water in the Russian-occupied city.

“A guy from Luhansk lived in our house, he had already experienced it. He gathered all the remaining neighbors and said that it would only get worse. He argued that it was the right time to leave. We packed things at our own risk. Everyone took what they could. We only had our papers and cats.”

blown-up bridge between russian-occupied city Irpin and free Kyiv

The blown-up road bridge between Irpin and Kyiv. 25 February 2022. Photo: FB/Олексій Гордєєв.

Anastasia recalls that she put her two cats in one carrier and the third one was in her backpack. The couple also took the documents for their apartment, for the cats, and their passports. None of the neighbors knew what the situation was and where the checkpoints were located, but they took a risk and left the place. And they were lucky. They got out. Many of the citizens could not get out.

People who are trying to evacuate from Russian-occupied Irpin hide from the Russian mortar fire under the collapsed bridge. 5 March 2022. Source. ~

People who are trying to evacuate from Russian-occupied Irpin hide from the Russian mortar fire under the collapsed bridge. 5 March 2022. Source.

At this point, she, her husband, and three cats are in Lviv.

“I feel calmer, but I’m still anxious. I am afraid of silence because you are constantly expecting something bad from it. I still dread going outside: I always look for shelter.”

The young woman says her biggest fear is not being able to return home. Anastasia’s only dream is about the victory of Ukraine.

Recorded by Anastasiia Kovalenko.

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