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The Ukrainian village was divided by the occupation – Svet SME

Nov 11, 2022 at 5:10 p.m I Paid content

The occupation destroyed relations between neighbors.

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The article was originally published in the Washington Post. The text was translated by Barbora Paľovčíková.

SHEVCHENKIVKA. A month after the liberation of the village of Shevchenkivka in southern Ukraine, in the Kherson region, the community there is still divided into two parts. One group of residents accuses the other of collaborating with Russian soldiers.

Because of the accusations, some residents of the village have fled and may never return. The intelligence services were already in the village investigating what the residents were doing during the Russian occupation. However, the locals claim that this is not enough, as the collaborators, according to them, betrayed them.

As in many other liberated cities, the Russian occupation led to division, suspicion and detention in Shevchenkivka. The freedom gained also prompts thoughts of revenge.

Friendship with enemies

In mid-October, a week after the occupying forces left Shevchenkivka, the village’s 50 or so remaining residents were greeted by a Ukrainian army truck carrying bread. However, the shadow of the occupation persisted.

Forty-five-year-old Oľga Prodčenková offered to distribute the food. She walked from house to house, passing many abandoned dwellings, until she came to a bright yellow and blue gate. There she met Halyna Pylypenkova.

The sixty-two-year-old woman in red slippers did not want bread. She didn’t even want to have anything to do with Olga. Since Halyna’s son was fighting at the front for Ukraine, her main enemy was the woman standing at her gate whom she suspected of collaborating with the Russians.

“You only booed and supported Russia,” shouted Halyna angrily, while Olga retreated from her house.

The story of Shevchenkivka shows how few things are in a black-white war.

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