Ukraine war story: an elderly man and woman who both live with a cat

This is a very disconcerting story in The Sunday Times today. The journalist, Christina Lamb has portrayed Putin’s invasion of Russia from a deeply personal angle and it is very telling and frankly depressing because of its barbarity and inhumanity. I’m able to write about it because cats are part of the story. I hope that the photographer forgives me for publishing her photographs on this page.

Viktor hid Vika in his home for weeks after she was raped
Viktor hid Vika in his home for weeks after she was raped. Photo: Paula Bronstein for The Sunday Times.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

The pictures of Viktor, 71, a music teacher, and his tortoiseshell-and-white cat taken by Paula Braunstein for The Sunday Times and the picture of Valentina, 65, by the same photographer caught my eye. Valentina’s cat is a bicolour with lots of white.

They both live in a village which is about an hour north-west of the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv. It is called Dzherelna Street. It looks nice with plenty of space and detached houses. The village comprises one street.

Vika also lives in the village with her husband and on March 9 Russian soldiers seized and raped her in another house. That house has solar panels on the roof. It was taken over by Russian soldiers shortly after they arrived on March 5. They trashed the house and stole food and left when Ukrainian soldiers counter-attacked. They were gone by April 1.

Vika escaped after being raped and found her husband. They hid in the attic of Viktor’s house for a month until the Russians had left.

Valentina and her cat live in Dzherelna Street
Valentina and her cat live in Dzherelna Street. Photo: Paula Bronstein for The Sunday Times.

Valentina also lived in Dzherelna Street with her daughter Natasha, 41, her son-in-law Sasha and her grandson, 15. The Russian soldiers seized Natasha and raped her with Vika in the house that the Russians took over and trashed. This happened on March 9. Sasha tried to stop the Russian soldiers taking his wife and they shot him dead. He was buried in the yard and then moved to a proper grave later. Meanwhile Natasha and her son have fled to Austria. Valentina is left behind with her cat.

For me, as mentioned, it is depressing because the behaviour of the Russian soldiers is depraved. These are “ordinary” people. They are conscripts I’m told. They are young men. Are they typical of the kind of men living in Russia today as civilians? Or is it just the rarefied atmosphere of war and vodka which makes them do this?

Below are some more pages on the Ukrainian invasion.

1 thought on “Ukraine war story: an elderly man and woman who both live with a cat”

  1. I’ve listened to phone recordings of 2 soldiers one to his girlfriend the other to his mother and both women told the men it’s okay to rape and kill Ukrainians because they are animals. The girlfriend said do it (rape) just don’t tell me about it. The mother said to rape little boys and slit their throats. This mother and girlfriend and the 2 soldiers have been fed propaganda on TV by the oligarchs. No it’s not war or vodka it’s the lies their media are telling them that Ukrainians are Nazi’s and must be exterminated.


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