TWO attempts to speak to Bantry’s Eugene O’Sullivan in Ukraine were interrupted by air raid sirens which forced him and his family to take shelter in a basement.
Eugene (56) said he has not yet seen, with his own eyes, the ravages of war but a farm in his area was bombed, leaving one man dead and several others in hospital.
Nevertheless, the damage caused by war is evident everywhere.
‘There is almost no fuel here,’ he said. ‘Supplies have run out and oil storage depots have been bombed, which means we have to stay put, walk or cycle.
‘As the war drags on, I wonder how that will pan out,’ he added. ‘If there is going to be a shortage of fuel it will go right through the whole transport system.
‘The train tracks are also being bombed and train junctions are being taken out. That destroys the whole transport system,’ he said. ‘People can’t move and farmers won’t be able to transport their crops from the field.’
Eugene believes that from September onwards there is going to be a huge increase in prices for food. He, his wife Ruslana and son Rustic, and his mother-in-law are ‘okay’ for food and water, but elsewhere in the Ukraine that is not the case and people are starving.
Eugene insists he is ‘fine,’ that he has become acclimated to the fact that the country is under siege, but he acknowledged: ‘If it comes here, we will probably have to get out.
‘I am not ready to go,’ said Eugene, who is hoping that the May 9th victory celebrations in Russia – marking the date the Russians defeated the Nazis in 1945 – might give them the opportunity to say that their ‘special military operation’ has come to an end in Ukraine.
‘If it does not come to an end by then, I fear this war could go on for years,’ he added.
Eugene also spoke to The Southern Star about how appreciative the Ukrainian people are of Irish support.
‘I had to go to a doctor during the week with a minor injury. I wanted to pay the doctor, but he wouldn’t take any money because of the help Irish people had given to the Ukrainian people.
‘It was nice to hear that,’ he said, ‘Ukrainian people really appreciate the help – they are not taking it for granted.’