A Ukrainian journalist recounts the most difficult month of her life as the Russian war rages on

A Ukrainian journalist has spoken of the “worst month of her life” as she continues to report from the front lines of the Russian war. Elena Pilipchak has revealed how she, like many in this war-torn country, lives in constant fear and prepares to flee her home.

Elene works for the Creators Media Group, an independent Ukrainian media organization that previously produced technology content. After the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the group decided to change and now produce content designed to help their readers survive the war.

Their team is made up of 40 journalists whose jobs are now threatened by the ongoing conflict and the resulting shutdown of the advertising market. In order to continue and continue to support their readership with tips for survival, the Creators Media Group has launched a crowdfunding campaign to support their journalism.

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Elena, editor-in-chief of Highload Today, one of three tech publications operating within the organization, revealed when she found out the war had started. She said: “I remember this morning clearly. My friend called me around 6am and said ‘the war has started’.

“I opened the news and read stories of explosions all over Ukraine. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me and my country. I live in the relatively calm region — in the western part of Ukraine, in Lviv, while my parents live in the central part — in Dnipro (just four hours from Donetsk, which is occupied by Russia).

Much of Ukraine has been damaged by war

“They decided to stay at home in wartime, but I asked them to come and see me if Dnipro became dangerous. You know, it’s difficult for old people, because their house is all they have in that period of their life when they are retired.”

Speaking about the last month, Elena said: “To tell the truth, this month is one of the most difficult in my life. Every morning you try to check if your friends and loved ones are still in life.

“From the first days of the war, many refugees from dangerous regions of Ukraine came to my house. I rent an apartment of 20 square meters (I think the room is about 8 square meters), but I could not refuse my friends in this hard time.

A Ukrainian serviceman walks among the rubble of a building heavily damaged by Russian shelling in Kharkiv
A Ukrainian serviceman walks among the rubble of a building heavily damaged by Russian shelling in Kharkiv

“I hosted the family from Kharkiv (this city has been heavily bombed since the first day of the war) – two adults with the child, the 5-year-old boy. I gave them my room and slept in the aisle in the sleeping bag.

“We didn’t wear our pajamas at night – we wore thermal underwear, because in the event of a bombing we could get dressed quickly and get to cover. At that time, air raid warnings came about 6 times per day.”

Daily life has changed dramatically in Ukraine, with citizens like Elena constantly on alert for attacks. She and her neighbors even had to make special preparations if a quick evacuation was necessary.

Elena said: “Every Ukrainian now has a bug-proof bag, which we keep in the hallway of our apartments near the door. Inside there is a bottle of water, a first-aid kit, documents, a dry ration, warm clothes, phone charger and power bank.

Firefighters work to put out multiple fires after Russian attack in Kharkiv
Firefighters work to put out multiple fires after Russian attack in Kharkiv

“Lviv is no longer a safe place – once my friend and I went to the park on the weekend, when the air raid warning started. We decided to sit down and have some tea, waiting the alarm went off, then something horrible happened: I heard the plane.

“I knew after the alarm it couldn’t be a Ukrainian plane, so I said to my friend: ‘Come down! Quick!” After that, we heard two explosions 2 km away from us and realized it wasn’t an airplane (thank goodness!), it was Russian cruise missiles.”

Speaking about their fundraising and the need to finance the press in Ukraine, Elena said: “The war is a difficult time for the media because there are hardly any advertisements and many businesses have come to a standstill. But our media always try to support Ukrainians, entrepreneurs and businessmen.

“We keep them informed with important news and advice from all kinds of experts in this difficult time in which we all find ourselves. I think our main goal is to try to help Ukrainians not to give up and to move on to victory.”

In conclusion, Elena said: “We don’t know how long the war will last and it’s scary. One of our politicians said that it could last more than 10 years – it’s really hard to hear.

“We believe in our brave soldiers and we still believe that other countries will help us in this horrible invasion. We are all a little tired, but more than ever, we are united.”

You can donate to Creators Media Group and keep journalism going in Ukraine by clicking here.


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