Angelika Ryabinina, 39 years, Kharkiv, housewife

Interviewed on April 6, 2022

Before February 24 I had my way of life, my house that we built with my husband. We did everything with our own hands: mixed concrete, installed windows, made doors, glued wallpaper - made our home. We had to be very economic, our parents helped us. Now the house is half-ruined, the husband and mother stayed there, and my daughter and I are here, waiting for the hell to end.

March 2nd was the scariest. Our house is in a private sector. That day my husband went out of the gates to get some water. At that moment an airplane started flying near. There was a feeling that it flew right above us, it seemed that I could feel it with my skin. My daughter and I laid down on the floor and covered ourselves with blankets. Suddenly there was an explosion. The ceiling lamp fell on us, then we heard a loud noise of broken glass. My first words were: “dear, are you alive?”. And she told me: “Mom, Dad is on the street!”. We were lying down for about seven minutes in a complete stupor. After some time, my husband ran into the house. He saw that we were alive and laid down with us. We were lying and crying, because everything had split at “before” and “after”. That day I was in hysterics: I was grabbing all the blankets I could see and nailed them to the window right through the curtains. One of the next days my daughter said that she wants to live and cannot stand that horror anymore.

Now the entire Ukraine did not simply unite, we became a single whole, as a fist. It is a special unity. I would like to say special thanks to all people who are keeping us safe, keeping our nation safe: to the military, medics, cooks, volunteers. I make a deep bow to you. You are our guardian angels.

In Ukraine: As My Heart Yearns curated by Ira Lupu

“In Ukraine: As My Heart Yearns,” is a continuation of an international photography series started in March 2022 showcasing Ukraine’s past and present and includes pastoral archival imagery and recent refugee portraiture by Yana Kononova, Ira Lupu, Paraska Plytka-Horytsvit and Elena Subach and Helen Zhgir. It also features the work of internationally acclaimed documentary photographer Yelena Yemchuk.