World: Ukraine: Report in Vyssokopillia, a liberated city

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Vyssokopillia, in the north of the Kherson region, is only a few kilometers from the territories controlled by Moscow and that Russia is preparing to annex. Previously populated by 4000 souls, the city is starting to see its inhabitants return. View onononews

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sitting under his arbor, surrounded by kittens, completely indifferent to the noises of the war, Maria Syjouk recounts more than six months of terror under Russian occupation, in her village recently reconquered by Ukraine, one of the first in the South counter-offensive.

Vyssokopillia, in the north of the Kherson region, is only a few kilometers from the territories controlled by Moscow and that Russia is about to annex. So close to the front line, the small town, previously populated by 4,000 souls and now almost empty, still lives to the rhythm of the shots of the artillery of the two camps. Often distant, sometimes very close.

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Timidly, the rare inhabitants want to revive Vyssokopillia, but they tell immense suffering under the Russian occupation.

The head surrounded by a damn, the smile breathing in goodness, Maria Syjouk, 72 years for a few days, is only anger at the former Russian soldiers of the premises.

"They flew, they humiliated us," she storms to AFP journalists, who were able to go to the village, accompanied by the Ukrainian army.

Sometimes they killed civilians, accuses the babahka, who never wanted to leave his house: "There was a family here, the (Russians) wanted to take their car. The husband did not want to give them. They killed him, with his wife, "she says.

If no massive killing has been identified in the village according to the inhabitants encountered by AFP, the fate of this couple was reported by three different interlocutors. It is reminiscent of the summary executions established by many witnesses, despite the Russian denials, in many Ukrainian territories, starting with the Boutcha massacre.

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Wooden Cross

among the five graves dug here since the start of the Russian invasion, one of them welcomes two deceased dead on the same day. A wooden cross established their deaths on April 20, 2022.

"A family, a man and a woman, were killed. We were at home when we heard the shots. Then we went to get water" , also remembers Nina, 65, narrating more than six months of daily life without exceeding the corner of her street.

"We couldn't cry. We just waited for our guys to come back, to take over the village," she continues.

The Ukrainian army announced on September 12 that it has reconquered Vyssokopillia, as well as three other localities, during its counter-offensive in the south. She then claimed to have resumed 500 km2. Since then, at least 8,000 km2 have been returned and kyiv troops have continued to move forward.

The destruction is immense for this town. While two Russian armored vehicles, destroyed, are visible on the outskirts of the locality, the hospital facade is disfigured by the strikes and the majority of houses in houses are holes, when the walls are not lacking.

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The carcasses of "Z" tagged cars, a mark of recognition of the Russians, all or almost good for the breakage, constantly constelle. Intact shells seem to have been forgotten near Russian medical equipment.

The enemy presence was "frightening, shocking. We did not know where to go, what to do, where to hide," recalls Valentina Zgonyk-Safonova. And to tell "20 -year -old girls" harassed ", the soldiers who were getting angry and then" screaming ", others who" walked the weapon in hand and aimed at people ".

Fearing to see his house, when his car had already been stolen from him, this teacher left on June 5 of Vyssokopillia. She has just found her building fully calcined.

Only its green shoe bathtub, moved in its yard, and in which floats a putrescent meat, seems to have survived.

"I'm going to come back, and rebuild my house," she says. And to add, a little unreal, in the middle of resonate explosions: "I am someone who does not like big changes".

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