Invaders deport a priest and parishioners from Bakhmut

28.02.2023, 15:45
Invaders deport a priest and parishioners from Bakhmut - фото 1
The Russians took some of the parishioners of St. George's Church from Stupky, a hub station in Bakhmut, along with Father Oleksiy Polchenko, the only one in the community who remained to help people.

A volunteer who helped the church in Stupky told of this fact.

"Most of the people who were taken out today have already been registered (ed., we are talking about the lists published by the invaders). Father Oleksiy is on this list, as well as people who used to live in the church. This is approximately about 15 people. Everyone who lived in Stupky up to Illinivka was evacuated three days ago to the other side, to Pervomaisk and Shakhtarsk. Now those people are there,” the woman reports.
It is impossible to keep in touch with the people who were taken out now. The volunteer hopes that this can be done in the coming days.

Invaders deport a priest and parishioners from Bakhmut - фото 109637


"People who get there first go to Pervomaisk, then Shakhtarsk, then the filtration camp, then they have to get their documents made, because they will not be allowed anywhere without documents. People are waiting for documents to be able to buy SIM cards and contact their relatives. It usually takes 4-5 days,” says the volunteer.

According to the woman, about 250 people remained in the mortar. This is together with Yagodny and Berkhivka.

"Most of them were taken out three days ago. There are probably 70 people on the lists-they were delivered,” she says.

The last time the woman had contact with Fr Oleksiy was on February 20, when he went to Sloviansk to take people with children. He could no longer feed them and took people out under fire in his own car, the woman says.

"During the entire period of the war (ed., we are talking about a full-scale war), about 200 people lived in the church. Some came, and others left. Volunteers from the Red Cross helped a lot, in Poland, they raised funds for generators, and the mayor also helped. They took a mother from school so that people could sleep. There was a stove, and people were prepared to eat. Fr Oleksandr tried to create as good conditions as possible in difficult moments. There could have been 20 arrivals a day on the territory of the church, but there were no casualties,” the volunteer says.

According to the volunteer, Fr Oleksiy chose a way to help people, so he decided to stay.

“He said that he could not do anything else, because his parishioners are here. He served in the church for 15 years. He stayed for the sake of the people, although he had the opportunity to leave repeatedly. He decided to go for such a feat, he came under fire more than once, but God kept him alive with his kind heart and intentions,” the volunteer notes.

The volunteer adds that the priest helped people a lot, had missionary values, communicated with young people, and founded a football team: small and big leagues.

"Our people are used to the fact that the priest can only be seen in the church, but communication with him is limited in the church, and Oleksiy was among people. He helped everyone, children, women,” the volunteer sums up.