A white woman with short blonde hair wearing glasses and red sweatshirt

'The most difficult thing for me in this war is uncertainty'

Lilia Tkachuk is Humanity & Inclusion's health project supervisor in Ukraine. She reflects on the toll that one year of conflict has had on her family and her fellow Ukrainians.

February 24 was the same for every Ukrainian, and yet everyone has their own story to tell.

It was frightening. My husband worked in Kyiv as a construction worker. He called me at 5:30 in the morning and said that the war had begun. It took him twelve and a half hours to get home from Kyiv. He told me to take our children, pack the bags and wait for him. After that, we were watching news 24/7, everyone in the same room. Everyone was afraid. We were just waiting under a lot of stress.

My husband wanted to get us abroad, but we didn't want to go. I have a mother and two children. We kept watching the news and my kids kept asking: "Mommy, mommy, do we really have to go?" My husband went to the East of Ukraine, and I stayed with my two children. He was wounded in Severodonetsk when he stepped on a mine. The explosion was very powerful and he was lucky to survive. His lungs were punctured and there are a lot of deep scars. Now, he has gone through a long rehabilitation process.

The most difficult thing for me in this war is uncertainty. When there is no connection with your husband, you don't know what happened to him or where is he. You don't know if his guardian angel is powerful enough to save the dearest person you have. It's a terrifying experience and a great source of pain.

The war has given us a different understanding in the value of family. You just have each other.

If I could speak to the global community, I would say that what’s done is not enough. It’s good that they're helping us, but we need to save lives and do anything possible to stop the bloodshed. It's one thing to have no gas in Europe, but it's quite different when children won't be able to see their parents anymore. You can't compare these things. The global community has to realize that there are real people here and anyone could one day be in a situation like this.

I think of these words from a Ukrainian poet: "How can you be so blind, oh, nations? Today's our turn, tomorrow — yours.

Read about Lilia's professional experience and HI's support of local health staff at the Vinnytsia Medical Rehabilitation Center.