Firefighters in Ukraine used to have the protocols, the experience and the kit to deal with whatever blaze they encountered. When the war with Russia broke out, that all changed.
As high rise apartment blocks were struck and neighbourhoods were shelled, they had to work out which of the multiple burning homes to prioritise, who to rescue first, and how then to tackle a factory fire kilometres away at the same time.
“It’s all when you go and sleep after the work,” he said. “I would like to hug them. I’m used to every night telling a story to my girl.”
Where they are staying in Germany, they have a “wonderful house” and a pool, he says. He recounts telling Violetta when they talk: “Just enjoy it and like forget about papa while enjoying it. Just enjoy it and we will speak, we’re still here, we’re still in touch, so everything is fine.”
(Reporting by Leah Mills in Kharkiv, Ukraine; Writing by Alison Williams; Picture editing and layout by Eve Watling; Text editing by Max Hunder and Raissa Kasolowsky)
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