TWH – This is an update to our previous report on Pagans in Ukraine. Today marks the 19th day of the Russian invasion with current reports from multiple media noting that Russian forces continue to advance very slowly on Kyiv mainly from the north and east. On Sunday, Russia carried out airstrikes on targets in Lviv and elsewhere in western Ukraine near the Polish border.
A new ‘green corridor’ or safe escape route out of Mariupol was finally established today after several failed attempts last week. According to reports, at least 160 cars carrying civilians were allowed to leave the city, drive to Berdyansk and head towards Zaporizhzhia.
American journalist and documentarian Brent Renaud was killed by Russian forces in Irpin, Ukraine, kyiv region police reported in social media posts on Sunday. Since Renaud’s death was first reported, friends and colleagues have shared memories in tribute. Renaud is the first foreign journalist reportedly killed in Ukraine since the Russian invasion.
The situation is getting much worse. For those of us who report, even remotely, it’s impossible to keep your voice out of the stories. The events are horrible.
Towns besieged by the Russians are still suffering under an artillery barrage. Civilians are often unable to escape without fear of being killed. They run the risk of running out of food, water and medicine. Some towns are said to have started digging mass graves.
Added to this is the repugnant behavior of some media – like the state-controlled news services of Russia and China – collectively educating entire populations about the war and the reasons for the invasion of Ukraine. by Russia.
We will tell you that it is surreal to speak with someone in Ukraine and hear explosions. It’s happened more than once and it’s definitely something none of us would have ever thought of reporting for The Wild Hunt. And yet it’s there and happening with shocking regularity.
TWH has been able to get some updates from Pagans, Heathens, and polytheists. We heard from Titus of TEMPLVM, a religious organization based in Ukraine and focused on building Temples and Altars according to the tradition that was followed by Ancient Romans. We previously reported on TEMPLVM’s action to get individuals to safety.
Titus said that TEMPLVM had “successfully evacuated the first batch of refugees – women and children – across the border and after coming back home made sure the families of our community are provided with food, water, and medicaments for at least 5 days. This was made possible thanks to the support of the international polytheistic community.”
Titus later added, “Thanks to the help from the international polytheistic community we managed to get a pagan family of 7 people out of Kharkiv which is being bombed and they are now safe at TEMPLVM.”
In Kyiv, a member of Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) said that he will stay through the invasion. We’ll call him Olin because even his spiritual name may not protect him from being identified if the Russians gain control. There are too many possibilities that an individual can be accidentally outed by Western reporting and then later targeted by Russians for having shared their experiences.
“Even if it were possible, I wouldn’t leave. Here are my relatives and loved ones, my homeland, my property, and my cats. If I can help in any way, I should be here,” Olin said. He added that as far as he knows none of his O.T.O brothers and sisters had left Ukraine and that they are in constant contact with each other. He said just the opportunity for contact helps tremendously.
Olin said, when we spoke, he was worried about what has happened in Kharvkov, “[T]The aggressor has been bombing residential areas there for several days, and this is the case in many cities.
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Worry has practical consequences like being able to sleep and rest. Olin said, “At first it was hard to sleep because they were constantly bombing. Especially after the rocket hit an apartment building near work. Now it’s easier and comfortable to sleep in the bathroom.
But the stress is still present. Olin said, “I try to do individual practices when I’m not stressed – mostly in the morning, every morning inspires optimism. The previous experience helps a lot, when you already know that death is not everything, there is less fear, it is more controllable.”
But Olin is also out of incense. “I regularly burned incense for the gods, unfortunately they are over, and only critical stores are operating in the city.”
We haven’t heard from Olin for a few days since Russia launched new attacks on the Ukrainian capital.
Sabine is a pagan in Mykolaiv and made contact a few days ago. They said “this is bad. Very bad.”
An hour later we received another message: “The Russians are bombing again. I heard that many houses and buildings had been destroyed. I have to go. My dad stays and says goodbye, not see you later. Bye.”
The BBC reported that Mykolaiv was under massive attack. “Mykolaiv Governor Vitaliy Kim stands in fatigues, explaining how Ukrainian soldiers, aided by fresh reinforcements, repelled Russian troops.” Kim added, “We are winning this fight, but not this war.”
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TWH was also able to contact Yulia again on Wednesday March 9 to assess her situation and try to understand the reality of a war that is only getting closer and closer.
“Active fighting for Chernihiv continues for the second day, but Ukrainian forces are defending my city. The occupiers are shelling civilian homes and other non-military targets, so we regularly hear heavy weapons fire, including, in recent days, airstrikes and rockets. I hear that sound almost all the time and some of them are getting really close, it’s scary, that’s how war sounds,” she shared with TWH.
For Yulia, as for many Ukrainians trapped in Chernihiv and other towns besieged by the Russian army, daily life has become a somewhat bleak existence characterized by daily trips to the bunker: “We always wake up around five or six in the morning. morning when the siren goes off. Then, if necessary, we hide, otherwise we just have breakfast as usual. Most of the time we sit at home and when the siren goes off we run to the bunker. We spend something like five to six hours in the bunker a day, sometimes less, sometimes more, depending on the shelling from the Russian occupiers.
When she’s not hiding in her apartment or hiding deep underground, Yulia has nothing to do but try to get necessities. “Food stores, pharmacies and other stores are operating when not bombed, but there are huge queues. There is a poor selection of food and medicine but we are still good. During the fourteen days of the war, I was not hungry.
When asked if she had noticed the outpouring of sympathy and help from abroad, Yulia expressed great appreciation: “People support my nation so much these days, thank you very much! Many have purchased digital items to support me, and many people overseas have offered shelter, however, I find it safer to stay at home.
Yet over the past two days, fighting has only intensified in and around Yulia’s hometown of Chernihiv. According to Vladyslav Atroshenko, the city major quoted by the New York Timesthe city is currently surrounded by Russian forces, thousands of people have lost their homes to the bombings and the local administration lacks land to bury its dead.
When asked how she thinks the war will end, Yulia hesitates. “Usually I’m a planning person, but not now. When it’s war, you don’t know what’s going to happen, how it’s going to end and when.
Nevertheless, she is undeterred and never ceases to praise her compatriots who risk their lives in the field. “Part of the money I received from my supporters and friends abroad during this period, I gave to the Ukrainian forces. Everyone is doing their part: the soldiers are fighting, the police and the protection units from the city control the city the volunteers support everyone and all the other civilians donate money and don’t bother others but just help it’s great that we stay together and strong a winning country should look like to that and I’m proud of it.
We lost contact with Yulia for a few days but luckily on March 12 she wrote that she and her family were still doing well despite the lack of supplies.
She added: “Right now, connecting with the gods is the thing I believe in and I want it all to end as soon as possible and with a win.”
For readers who want to help the people of Ukraine, here are some NGOs to consider. The following NGOs all reported directly supporting Ukrainians.
- SOS Children’s Villages Ukraine – an organization engaged in the care of orphans and vulnerable families.
- The Ukrainian Red Cross provides emergency care to people regardless of nationality or status.
- Come Back Alive Foundation is an association that is committed to supporting Ukrainian soldiers, mainly through medical and logistical purchases
- Nova Ukraine is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to raising awareness about Ukraine in the United States and around the world and providing humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.
Editor’s note: TWH will follow events in Ukraine and update our readers as the conflict progresses. If you are a reader in Ukraine or have ties to the country and would like to speak with TWH about your experiences, please message us at [email protected]