I’m proud of the Gostomel glassworks, where I’ve been working since 1991. My wife, Hanna Bogdaniva, also used to work here. Our young family lived in the factory hostel, which was later converted into an apartment building. This was where we settled down, gave birth to our daughter and son, and raised them. If there is stability, work and decent pay, everything in life and in the family will be good.
And indeed, everything was good – until we saw with our own eyes what "Russian world" means. Most of all, I was worried about my children and my wife. I knew what war is, because my best friend served in the army in Nagorno-Karabakh during the Soviet era. Our cars were ready and I offered the opportunity to leave the city immediately – but everyone refused.
On 24 February, I went to work. When I returned home after my shift, I found my family in the basement, where they were hiding as the helicopter attacks, explosions and fires drew nearer. There was supposed to be an evacuation – but at that time, we could only drive as far as the village of Mykulychi, 20 km from Gostomel. It so happened that my grandson became seriously ill, so we urgently needed to get to the hospital. We painted the Russian word for "children" on the car, and hung out white sheets instead of flags in the hope that we could get through. At the first roadblock, however, we were almost shot dead by Russians – so we turned back.
"When I looked at my sick grandson, I took the decision to make my own way across the fields. My thanks go to our people who helped and guided us."
On 4 March, neighbours informed me that – despite their efforts – my apartment was completely burnt out. There was nothing left; even the partition walls and plaster had collapsed.
I left my family behind in Khmelnytskyi and returned to work on 11 May – and I was shocked by what I saw. An aerial bomb had hit our workshop, completely destroying everything: the furnace, the walls, the ceiling ... I no longer had a home, the plant was destroyed, my wife has cancer, and the war is still going on.
Nevertheless, the plant started to rebuild, and I began collecting documents about the loss of my apartment. This was difficult, because the fire that burnt my apartment down was not properly documented. Huge thanks go to Olena Honcharenko, HR Clerk at Vetropack Gostomel, for her help and her kind heart. We were able to assemble all the documents we needed within one month. I never ever hoped to get such a huge amount! I’ve gone through many different inspections by various government agencies, but I haven’t been given any help – except from Vetropack. I received actual money from the Foundation. I am very grateful to my colleagues in the Vetropack Group and to Pavel Prinko, General Manager of the Business Unit Ukraine/Republic of Moldova, for this urgently needed help. Although I can’t restore my home at present for purely technical reasons, I have money, and I’m waiting until the right time. I have profound respect for everyone who is helping. Everything will be fine. We will rebuild everything, and my wife will overcome her illness.