War notes

These are notes of mine and my friends on the Moscow-Ukrainian war that I conduct using my mobile phone from the checkpoint being on the duty as a member of the Territorial Defense Forces next to my house in Kyiv.

Olegh Bondarenko
16 min readMar 7, 2022


❗️ Since the number of stories is growing I moved them into the Medium publication War notes

That’s how it started for me and my family:

220311, Vadym Chumak, https://www.linkedin.com/posts/vadim-chumak-b44890100_continuation-by-the-second-half-of-the-activity-6908061892858785792-KlSo — By the second half of the 19th century the standard of Russian language was eventually established and began to be forcefully set as the only language in Russian Empire and its provinces, including Ukraine at that time. This policy of russification lasted for more than a century and it resulted in the fact that all large cities (including Kyiv) and industrial regions in Ukraine became Russian-speaking. Ukrainian language existed as non-prestigious sign of a lower class (peasants and uneducated people). Gopak dance and folk songs were welcome by the communist rule as a demonstration of happiness and prosperity of the ‘multi-national family’ within the Soviet Union.

Also, a large influx of native Russians took place in course of industrialization in the last decade of the 19th century with spikes after Holodomor (resettlement of population from core Russian regions to replace Ukrainian population exterminated in course of Stalin’s genocide in 1932-1933) and deportation of Krymtatar population from Crimea in 1944. By 2014 the fraction of Russians was only 17% of the whole population of Ukraine.

The fraction of Russian-speaking or bilingual (like myself) was much larger (maybe 50%) strongly depending of the region of Ukraine. One should note that ethnic origin, religion or language people spoken had never be an issue in Ukraine. There is general consensus in Ukraine that Ukrainian is the state language while people in their everyday life can use whatever language they want (in fact, suppression of Russian-speakers in Ukraine is another lies of Putin and his propaganda!). So, in summary, ‘Russian speaking’ is not equal to ‘Russian’, citizens of Russian origin in Ukraine are a part of Ukrainian nation (like Hispanic are part of the US nation), both ethnic Russians and the rest of Russian speakers are defending Ukraine now in this historically predetermined aggression from Russia. The opposite perspective is Putin's manipulation and propaganda. What happens in Ukraine has nothing with Russian speakers - Putin wants to claim each Russian speaking living soul to be a part of his proclaimed "Russian world". This is clear manipulation because lots of Russian speaking Ukrainians of all nationalities are fiercely fighting against this invasion.

At the end just one small example: although I am a bilingual Ukrainian, my mother tongue and the language we speak most of time in my family is Russian. This does not make us a part of Putin's "Russian world" and we will do what we can to resist this act of Cainic ‘brotherly love’, which is gaining clear features of genocide of all Ukrainians – both Ukrainian and Russian speaking.

Slava Ukraini! Together to the victory over the Evil Empire.

220310, Sergii Kostezh: Dostoevsky - permission for murder.


I confess.

In my teenagehood and youth I read a lot of classical Russian literature. All Dostoevsky, Tolstoy's "War and Peace" from the first to the last page, Chekhov, Chaadaev, Fet, Herzen, Tyutchev, Pushkin. I can't count all of them.

I repent, I read more Russian classics in 2000s than French, British, German all together. Yes, it is very sad, I got acquainted with some textbook samples of French and British prose of the XIX century at a more mature age.

However, even then I did not leave the feeling that I was reading something wrong. With each work I read, my aversion to the artistic value of literature grew and simultaneously the historian's interest in analyzing the concepts of literature "by the bones" grew.

From any work of Russian classics one thing permeates - the eternal whining about your own meanness and inability (and unwillingness) to influence not only what is happening around you and with you, but also your own responsibility for what you do and what you reflect on. But there is something more behind it - a little more about it below...

Practically the majority of the characters of classical Russian prose are moral impotents, who are engaged in the eternal justification of their own incompetence, indecision, or thievery. This is Bezukhov in Tolstoy, and Uncle Vanya in Chekhov, and almost all in Dostoevsky (the brightest, by the way - it's not Raskolnikov, but the main character of "The Player", as well as all the characters of "Devils"). "Devils" is probably the only thing I would recommend reading to understand Russia and the Russians. That's where Russia is. As they say, "total totality".

So at some point I just got fed up with this not very appetizing dish, and stopped reading Russian literature, probably in my third year of the University. And immediately my life changed for better! Appetite appeared, sleep improved, the first scientific achievements began, the first car, the first realty and the first participation in public life (not counting the Orange Maydan, of course).

But the grain sown by the Russian literature germinates in unexpected places. Recently, my good acquaintance Evgen Dykyj described the history of communication with his acquaintances among intellectuals from St. Petersburg, who when asked how they feel about the horror of the Russian army in Ukraine answered literally: "Well, think about the victims in peaceful cities from the bombing, and imagine - what mental anguish the pilot who is sent to bomb these peaceful cities feels".

Bloody "mental torments"! So now we have to hug that unfortunate pilot with his torn soul, kiss and cry with him in his arms? Seriously?

And then I realized what so tormented me in the Russian classical literature - it's an indulgence to murder. Dostoevsky justifies Raskolnikov in 500 pages and tries to make the reader feel sorry for him, instead of handing this bastard over to the police in half a page. All Russian culture and literature in particular is about how to excuse one's own participation in inhuman cruelty, game, murder, rape, robbery, how to justify one's abomination and inability to disobey a criminal order or the weakness of not succumbing to cruel temptation.

Intellectuals from St. Petersburg are not interested in the fact that the pilot may not obey the order. That he can refuse to do what he is instructed to do. Who should be held accountable for the crime he committed. That what he did was a CRIME. For them it is important - "mental anguish". And who is to blame for them? The criminal commander who gave the criminal order? No. Or the moral impotent who carried out this order? No.

From the point of view of "mysterious Russian soul" Ukrainians are guilty. Because they have to be killed and bombed. No matter what. "Nazis", military, civilians from Ivankiv and Irpin, pregnant women from the Mariupol maternity hospital ... It's like Dostoevsky, where for some reason it is not the Demons themselves who are to blame, but some incomprehensible "order" with which they are "fighting" without understanding what it is and why they do it.

This is what Russian literature teaches.

The puzzle is complete.

This is not literature.

This is a manual on the self-justification of criminals and accomplices. This is a guide to shifting responsibility and justifying one's irresponsibility.

That's what it is.

Can it be read? Yes, and even necessary to understand the behavior of Russian invaders. It is necessary to know and understand the enemy.

But this is not what children should be brought up on. Therefore, there is a REQUEST to the Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine and the leadership of the government Denis Shmygal to work to ensure that Ukrainian children after the war are not educated on such "works" at school. All Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Pushkin and other Chekhovs must disappear from textbooks. Because they are shells that fly to Kharkiv, bombs that fall on the five-story buildings of Chernihiv, and rockets that fly to maternity hospitals in Mariupol. Pale as death, Dostoevsky's face peeks into every school through a hole from an artillery shell, and the "God-bearing people" of Leo Tolstoy supports and justifies any war crimes of his soldiers, telling about it in comments in a telegram and Facebook. All these perverts - both those who kill and those who justify - were brought up and raised on Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Pushkin. Therefore, all these educators of murderers and rapists must stop admitting Ukrainian children to their heads and souls.

They can and should be replaced in the school curriculum by more vivid examples of Western literature, which really nurtures a responsible person with a full range of emotions and feelings, rather than cultivating self-love and eternal search for those responsible for their own irresponsibility. This is what I am writing, a man who in his youth so lacked quality Western literature, and who had to overcome Russian literature and culture in himself at a more mature age, making up for lost time.

And of course, all these inspirators of the "Russian world", which raised more than one generation of murderers and robbers, must be swept away from the names of Ukrainian streets, and all creative unions of all kinds of Pushkinists and others must be closed and banned. Yes, I have long opposed this, because I believed that Ukraine has the right to claim its share (and quite significant) in the historical heritage of the Russian Empire, but Russia simply did not leave us a choice. The presence of all these people directly in the daily life of Ukraine is unacceptable. All metro stations, streets, squares, which are still named after all Russian artists, should be renamed in honor of the heroes of the current war.

There is not a way back.

220310, Vadim Chumak — From the general picture of mass-media in the civilized world I see that there is a big surprise to everyone by success of Ukrainian army and the failure of Russian army to achieve their tactical and strategic goals. Also, there are concerns about Putin’s revenge for military support of Ukraine, particularly for possible setting no-fly zone, which we desperately need indeed.


Let me explain some facts about Russian army and its real power. The fear of the West of the Russian military power is based on extrapolation from the mightiness of the Soviet/Red Army, which existed till 1991, the decay of the Soviet Union. However, little is known in the West that the backbone and brain of the Soviet Army were Ukrainians. By the time of decay of the USSR 40% of officers and almost 100% of sergeants in this army were Ukrainians (which were only about 16% of the population of the Soviet Union). If one goes deeper in history, during the WWII Ukraine contributed to the fight against Nazism 7 million combatants (23% of total man power) - including both my grand-fathers, more than a half of 15 fronts (military unit of the strategic level) were headed by Ukrainians, totally there were about 300 generals and admirals of Ukrainian origin.

Now Russian army is lacking this essential human resource and, therefore, cannot be compared with the former Soviet Army in any respect. Ironically, there are still some officers with apparent Ukrainian roots (good example is general Konashenkov, the speaker of the Russian Ministry of Defense) who are still obeying criminal orders of the world #1 terrorist, president Putin. However, general organization of the invading Russian army is very low, problems with logistics reflect is very well.

In turn, Ukrainian armed forces demonstrate high morale and, most important, remarkable military skills – no surprise given the facts I have mentioned above. No doubt, this defense and future counter-offensive would not be that efficient without supply from our friends and partners.

However, this support could be even higher, if no fear of direct confrontation with Russia and, most of all, threat of nuclear war, which might be launched by the mad man in Kremlin. To ease this fear, I should mention that the state of the Russian strategic forces is likely to be same low as the actual (not presented by Russian propaganda) power of the Russian ground forces invading now to Ukraine. One more fact: the most powerful nuclear missiles in the Russian arsenal (SS-18 Satan aka P-36) were designed and manufactured in Ukraine, a city of Dnipro (formerly Dnepropetrovsk) and till 2014 (the actual beginning of Russian war against Ukraine) were getting maintenance from Ukrainian engineers, this maintenance stopped in 2014 and one can only guess about the technical state of those missiles not being checked for eight years! From the other hand, Russian forces are already threating nuclear objects in Ukraine – Chornobyl site and Zaporizhzhia NPP with six reactors – the largest in Europe. This can transform to the nuclear catastrophe of unseen scale at any time even without nuclear weapon strikes.

So, my friends, do not be afraid of the Russian Army, which is stopped and successfully deteriorated by Ukrainians. We still need active help and supply from the allies all over the civilized world and the sooner this aid will come, the less innocent people will be killed by non-selective bombardment of living blocks in Ukrainian cities. No-fly zone is the most obvious and urgent measure – use your voice to urge your governments to unveil this essential element of support.

Slava Ukraini! Together to the victory over the Evil Empire

220309, Ruslan — Today my family and I escaped from hell near Makariv city.


11 days of occupation, 11 days of constant artillery fire, tanks, aircraft, machine guns, hail, without electricity, any communications, internet, access to medicines and food, more than 11 days with children and parents in basements, 11 days of frightened children's eyes and panic fear - now it's over.

These days there were enemy tanks in the garden, armored personnel carriers in the yard, russian machine guns with green laser sights in the house.

These days there were enemy tanks in the garden, armored personnel carriers in the yard, Russian machine guns with green laser sights in the house, killed favorite dog.

We have managed to move away from the horrors of the Russian war, which continues to inflict bloody wounds on our native Ukraine.

It is very strange not to hear explosions for several hours in a row, explosions that we are used to living with day and night ... It is an incredible feeling to be in the area under our control, to see the UA fighters.

Thanks to those who cared about us these days. My thoughts now are with those who remained there, in the war zone, surrounded by the occupiers, who defends our country.

The only desire now is to cleanse our land of this evil.

Photo - on the Zhytomyr highway, the area controlled by the native Armed Forces 💙💛

220309, Hlib — I am well. We now have some tactical training going on, I myself got some small upgrades regarding clothing and equipment, so I'm moving in the right direction.

My immediate family is fine too. We do see signs of the russian military activity periodically, but the war hasn't hit Kyiv as hard as other places.

Some of our very close friends have been much less fortunate, especially those in Irpin. My de facto uncle (my dad's childhood friend) had to flee: most of the houses around his got either shelled or burned down.

I heard the same story from a woman who lived there and fled. She was passing by our location yesterday.

I've just heard from my dad's colleague about how russian snipers are apparently targeting civilians in that town as well, and thus making it impossible to evacuate.

And there is another story from his friend in Makariv, where russian soldiers broke into his home, shot his dog, broke their phones, took their flashlights, all the while saying they were there to liberate him and his family.

And there are thousands more stories like this and worse from all over the country. What these monsters have done in Mariupol, Kharkiv, other towns around Kyiv.

And the russian people seem to be okay with all of this. Listening to them making up justifications, denying what they are doing, saying they're sorry but unable to do anything I feel less and less afraid, but instead more and more furious at all of them.

220308 - Today I and several other representatives of NGOs from Ukraine (Ekoaction) took part in the BW meeting led by Mark. Totally 54 participants from all Europe took part in the meeting. Everyone supports us. At the beginning I briefly described the situation specifically with some of our colleagues at hot zones: Ruslan, Eugene, Inna, Julia, me. Then at the end of the meeting, I added: do not be decepted by false calls for peace, which in the Moskovian interpretation means capitulation of Ukraine; contribute to the suppression of the economy of Moscovites - 3/4 of them support this direct aggression and unless every of their ordinary citizens feels the catastrophic consequences of their wrong choice, nothing will persuade them; in addition to resolving the humanitarian problems of refugees, it is necessary to support military resistance of Ukraine, i.e.: closed skies, supply of openly available military equipment; and last but not least, Ukraine is defending Europe, and Moldova, the Baltics, Poland will be the next target of Moscow. Therefore, sympathy alone is not enough, action is needed, anger and fury instead of fear is needed.

220308 -That is eyewitnessing story from R. (names and locations are not discovered for safety reason): The worst was yesterday. We woke up about 3 o’clock from the terrible noise that made the earth tremble. We already knew that it was their equipment, tanks, but they were not so close yet. We thought that they were entering the territory of the club field from our side, there is such an opportunity, but they did not use it before. We hoped that our troops would push them away. Exactly at 04:00 they started knocking on our gates, our dog was barking, so the war penetrated directly into our house. It was not clear what to do, we hoped that they ask us and leave, and in the meantime we began to let the children go down into the basement of the house. The roar at the gate only got louder, and here we heard shots and the barking of our dog stopped ... then I found 3 Kalashnikov shell casings, as it turned out they did not shoot other dogs..

They began to stand in the doorway, walk around the house, shine in the windows. I stayed with parents upstairs, and my mother opened the door for them (now all the children want to be brave like their grandmother). It seems that there were 8 of them armed to the ears. Machine guns with green laser sights. Armed to the ears. We went into the house, began to check all the rooms, took away the phones and flashlight. The machines were aimed at us. I don't know how miraculously we managed to distract them so they didn't make others come out of the basement. I talked about a sick child all the time and the need for evacuation, treatment. Our phones were smashed with butts on concrete. All premises were checked. Everyone asked about the troops, saying that they would protect us from our own. From the first glance they look like Buryats, then the neighbors spoke that they are from Transbaikal.

The bulk left, leaving two in the yard. They asked for matches and a drink. My father gave them wine, they were afraid to try it until my father drank it himself. We were ordered to sleep.

Somewhere around 6 in the yard were clean, but after a while, probably an hour, rusnya (Moscovites) came again and repeated all by the circle - they checked up the house, all the rooms, they wanted to break our phones again. Again asked about the military, deployment, electricity, communications, the Internet. This time the wife and younger daughter did not go down to the basement, and the daughter saw one of them in the house. They walked for a long time, examined, questioned. Asked whether there are many children, obviously they wanted to make headquarters in our house. I don't know what stopped them in the end. Meanwhile, their equipment (then it was said they had 10 tanks, 3 armored personnel carriers, 2 KAMAZs with food, fuel truck, 3 types of military jeeps) was moving around. 2 tanks stood in our garden on one side of the house, one directed straight above us. Another APC or tank moved the fence and wanted to hide behind our barn on our currant bushes. But they changed their mind and left, at the same time taking our metal ladder.

Between the houses they put their fuel truck and through us went there to refuel. I meanwhile buried my poor doggy ...

Their KAMAZs were standing nearby and were to be unloaded in the neighbor's hangar.

They said that now they will unload and go to Belarus, and we need to evacuate to Belarus, Russia, because everything around is destroyed.

You can't ride in a civilian car - they shoot. Walking is also life threatening.

One of them complained that he did not want to be here, because his wife and child were at home, and he was fighting here because of their leadership.

About 10 o'clock they suddenly left and have not appeared since, thank God.

They drove a tank into the neighbor's yard through the gate without opening it. The neighbors ran away, when they heard they entered our house first. So they shot in doors of the neighbors, broke the window, overturned the whole house.

The last night was quiet, almost. For the first time in many days. We hope that the Armed Forces will push them away and we will have an opportunity to escape.

220307 — Moscovites conduct ground operations on an expeditionary basis. This is clearly demonstrated on Nathan Roser’s ASPI Cyber ​​Policy map. The occupiers do not control the territory - they temporarily control the roads and some settlements. As a result, on the one hand, they penetrate deep into our territory. It scares us, as if they are everywhere. But, on the other hand, it will complicate their logistics of replenishment of resources, evacuation of the wounded, etc., and will also help us to cut these logistics arteries. And the longer the expedition lasts, the less chance they have of getting out of it alive and unharmed.

220306 - In Kyiv one can observe the usual business atmosphere of wartime both at the spot (where our position is located) and at the headquarters, where I was yesterday on business. Cannonade and explosions became an attribute of life. We no longer pay attention to air alarms. The hottest sector these days is from North to West: Irpin, Bucha, Vorzel, Gostomel, Makariv. I have already written that Eugene's children - Masha and Oleg - got out of Irpin. Masha is already somewhere in the West of the country, Oleg is not far from me. There is a contact with Oleg, at the moment he decides his further actions. Another friend of mine, Ihor, left Irpin today and is now heading to Lviv. Around his house in Irpin, 6 neighboring houses burned to the ground - direct hits by Moscowits. Nevertheless, our mood is working, though our work now is different.

220305 - According to my own observations, as a direct participant in the events, I can say that I have never seen such a unity of people either in 2004 or 2014. At that time, changes were supported by an active part of society. In addition, there were signs of the division of the country, which was frantically dispersed by the Moscowites and their proxies, into conditional regions: south-east and north-west. The first ones tended more to maintain ties with Moscow, the latter - to Western civilization. Until recently, a large part of our Moscowite-oriented citizens have been in the discourse of Moscow’s narratives, saying that Ukraine is in a civil war. With his open large-scale military invasion, Pu dispelled the remnants of doubt - now the vast majority of Ukrainian citizens have clearly realized that we are waging a just patriotic defensive war against foreign invaders - Moscow. This is especially essential amid the maximum damage by Moscowites to civilian objects, mainly in the east-south of Ukraine, ie in Russian-speaking regions.

220303 - On February 24, 2022, we (Ukraine) entered a state of total war with Moscow. This is the same war that began with the burning of Kyiv by Andriy Bogolyubsky, when Moscow did not exist at all. And no "fraternal" relationship has ever stopped the Moscovites' thirst for taking away someone else's property, land, history... In fact, there was no fraternal relationship, never.



Olegh Bondarenko

Researcher, DSc, expert in Radiation Protection, Ecology, Air Quality Monitoring, Project Management, Data Science and other — orcid.org/0000-0001-8214-4654