Now, she said, he is cool and collected, never wanting to show his exhaustion and trying to shield her from the lurid details. When there have been numerous deaths in a single day, when a nearby hospital was bombed and many of her friends were killed, he told her, “Even then, he showed no tears.”
Russo-Ukrainian War: Key Developments
Ms. Prokopenko said she had spoken to her husband shortly before being interviewed over the weekend and that what he described to her about the soldiers’ daily routine is bleak.
Now they are lucky enough to have one meal a day “in dirty rooms, in basements or sitting on rubble, or sitting in bunkers,” he said, and to go out is to risk being shot by a sniper or bombed. . “So you have to be inside all the time in the dungeon,” Ms. Prokopenko said. “There is mold hidden in the clothes. Even your weapon is already in the mold.
Sometimes, he said, he tries to escape the horrors around him by talking about his life.
“He tells me warm words and asks me about common things that many of them have forgotten: what it is like to live in an apartment, eat ice cream, potatoes, some hot dishes, eat fresh bread,” he said. “All soldiers dream of fresh, warm bread, because they eat moldy bread. They dream of clean drinking water.”
But after such conversations, her sadness deepens.
“I am ashamed to live a normal life: I have a bed, a pillow, drinking water, pills,” Ms. Prokopenko said. “He and his comrades don’t have it, and I’m ashamed and sad about it.”
She said that she had thought about joining the many Ukrainian women who took up arms and joined the fight. But for now, she said, her mission is to tell the story of her husband and the other soldiers in the hope that they can be saved.
“They should not be allowed to die,” he said. “We are screaming about it. We cry about it. We tore our souls apart to save them.”