Mon. May 27th, 2024


The city authorities of Bilopil announced on May 14th the evacuation of all residents willing to leave the city for the regional center. Mayor Yuriy Zarka stated that the primary reason for the evacuation is the ongoing shelling in the area. Reporters from Suspilnyi witnessed residents of the border town departing for safer areas within the region.


Starting around 10:30 in the morning, people began gathering at the local bus station in Bilopil in response to the evacuation announcement made by city authorities.

Mrs. Tamara, who plans to travel to Poltava Oblast to visit her aunt, expressed her reasons for leaving: “I recently buried my son, so maybe being away will lessen the pain. I’ve closed up the apartment and left.”


The woman stated that she had no reason to stay in Bilopilla, so she gathered her essential belongings and headed to the designated meeting point. “I packed a change of clothes, just in case. Once word gets out, there’s a higher chance of someone breaking into the apartment or house. Some people from Sumy have already left, but I plan to go further and explore the world in my old age.”


Mr. Oleksandr and his wife are intending to travel to the Cherkasy region, where they have been invited by members of their religious community. Mr. Oleksandr himself migrated from Russia to Bilopil and has lived in the city for 37 years.


“We’ve endured two years and three months of constant shelling and bombardment; the house’s foundation has cracked in five places, and our nerves can’t take it anymore. We’ve held on for two years, but we’ve reached our limit. If the situation worsens, perhaps we’ll stay there permanently, but I don’t want to leave this land. However, I believe we’ve made the right decision because life is more valuable than anything else,” he said.


Before the buses arrived, the Air Force issued an air alert, requiring everyone intending to evacuate to seek shelter. Mr. Yuriy and his wife also plan to travel to Sumy. They still have children and grandchildren at home who work in the city.

“He’s always flying over us, sitting in the cellar all the time. I’m used to it, but she’s scared of everything. They told us she might be somewhere there or at the institute in a dormitory, but I don’t know where. We were registered there, and they told us to be here by 10 o’clock, that’s it, to gather our belongings for the first time,” Yuriy said.


Mayor Yuriy Zarko stated that there is no electricity in the shelter in Bilopil, as it is partially lacking in the city as a whole: “We’re aware that a scout is currently flying over Bilopil, so the situation is indeed quite challenging.”


“Since May 13, 60 residents have registered for evacuation. “I believe that the majority of people have already left, as we’ve observed many cars leaving loaded with belongings. So, there’s independent evacuation happening, perhaps to relatives or other cities or villages. Therefore, we’re currently assisting those who are unable to evacuate on their own,” stated Yuriy Zarko.


The mayor emphasized that the primary reason for the evacuation announcement is the ongoing shelling, with no mention of an imminent attack: “Shelling can occur anytime, day or night, and from various types of weapons. It could be KABs, which allow us at least a minute and a half to react. However, with artillery fire or ‘Grads,’ it’s a matter of seconds. Additionally, we’re witnessing mass exodus of stores, banks, and institutions, making it difficult for people to access basic necessities.”


“After the air raid warning was announced, people quickly got into their cars. Employees of the State Emergency Service, police, and volunteers assisted the elderly,” stated Andrii Panchenko, a representative of the humanitarian mission “Proliska”. “Upon arrival in Sumy, evacuees will be temporarily accommodated in the transit center.


They will then receive social support, IDP status registration, and assistance in restoring lost documents. Pensioners have the option of resettlement under the National Service to the ‘Slava’ sanatorium in Myrhorod.”


This time, 28 residents, including six children, left the city, according to Yuriy Zarko. “Our Germans didn’t do this during the war. My mother lived on one side, the Germans on the other. They left – she ate throughout the war, they left dishes, stews, candies, and everything. And what these people are doing, they are unscrupulous!” exclaimed a local resident. Білопілля 


According to the mayor, Bilopil had a population of 16,500 before the onset of full-scale war. Currently, there are approximately four thousand residents. Buses will be available again on May 15 for those willing to evacuate.

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