Story 30: Nataliya
Nataliya, from Ternova village, 20 kilometers northeast of the city of Kharkiv and 7 kilometers from the Russian border, was forcibly deported to Russia on May 31.
On the first day of the full-scale Russian invasion, Russian forces took control of her village. Russian forces did not allow anyone to leave the village if they said they wanted to evacuate to Ukrainian-controlled territory. They only allowed the residents to go to Russia by “evacuation” buses, provided by the occupation regime. Nataliya recalls, some families left the village for Russia in their own vehicles. This was the only way to get out of Ternova.
On May 28, she said soldiers came to her home and her neighbors’ homes to inform them that a green corridor had been opened to Kharkiv city. Nataliya and seven of her neighbors all said that they wanted to go to Kharkiv, which remained under Ukrainian control. Nataliya said the soldiers returned on the evening of May 31 and loaded the eight of them onto a bus, saying that it was headed for Kharkiv. But then the woman realized it was a deception. The bus headed in a different direction and eventually crossed the Russian border.