Information published on social networks spoke of a simple recreation center at the end of Peace Street in Obukhiv: since the start of the war, local volunteers have been storing food and basic necessities there for the most vulnerable people. vulnerable.
It is in fact a veritable entrenched camp to which The cross was denied access, guarded by armed men, fortified by strongpoints made of sandbags and partly blocked by concrete blocks along the road. Vans filled with food actually go in but, at the same time, a man comes out, rocket launcher on his shoulder.
→ READ. Mariupol, a strategic city besieged and bombarded by the Russian army
The tension is more than palpable in Oboukhiv, a town of 30,000 inhabitants 40 kilometers south of Kiev, where air alert sirens sound regularly. So far, the city has remained spared from the bombardments which have, in recent days, devastated several localities on the outskirts of Kiev. But when the Russian army tries to complete its encirclement of the Ukrainian capital, Obukhiv will be in the path of its armored columns.
Hospital beds freed up in anticipation of an influx of wounded
“We have no experience of this kind of situation, no more than you”, recognizes with fear Nadejda Yakoubichina, the director of the local hospital. Recently 180 beds were freed up there in anticipation of an influx of wounded. The establishment is now in constant contact with hospitals in the region to exchange information and, if necessary, medicines. “We are ready: we have stocked up on food, we have a shelter, a generator. We receive dozens of phone calls every day from people who want to donate blood,” assures Nadezhda Yakoubichina.
→ ANALYSIS. Why Russia seized the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant
Oboukhiv holds his breath. Like almost everywhere in the rest of Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion, martial law coincided with the establishment of checkpoints at the entrances to the city and at its main intersections. Almost all shops have closed, while long queues form every morning at the two gas stations in the center. Still adequately supplied a few days earlier, the shelves of Velmart, the city’s largest supermarket, are now almost entirely empty of vegetables, meat, fish and bread. “All fruits and vegetables come from Kiev and there is no longer access to the city”, laments a local shopkeeper.
Tips for fighting the “horde”
This is not entirely true: as of March 7, the road leading from Obukhiv to the Ukrainian capital remained open, despite the approach of Russian troops. But the establishment of dozens of checkpoints on the way and the departure of tens of thousands of people have paralyzed logistical supplies which are now done on a case-by-case basis. “Our boss makes phone calls every day. Sometimes we manage to have something, sometimes not. says the shopkeeper again.
The approaching war is also, in Oboukhiv, synonymous with nerves on edge. Rumors have been swirling for days of a possible Russian paratroop drop on the town – Russian airborne troops after all attempted a similar operation at Vassylkiv, 20 kilometers to the west.
At the hospital, Nadejda Yakoubichina multiplies the phone calls to the local authorities before agreeing to speak, while two guards carefully check the identity papers. Taking a photo in the center is immediately rebuffed by residents living for two weeks already to the rhythm of air alert sirens and rumors of possible infiltration of saboteurs.
And on social networks, the local branch of territorial defense multiplies advice on the best way to fight against what it describes as “hoard” : “Organize in groups, identify the best places to confront the enemy. You know the city and all its streets, use that to your advantage. »