Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

UPDATED: Ukrainian Stories From the Front Lines
By shareyour.care   |  Apr 07, 2022
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The following reports have been sent to ISKCON News by the Share Your Care Team


April 3rd, Update on Vamshi Madhava das and his Shooting Injury

Vamshi Madhava das, his wife Vimala devi dasi, and their three children, Vrinda (15 years old), Radha Raman (9 years old), and Haridas (7 years old), live in Oleshki in the Kherson region.

Last month we reported that Vamshi Madhava das was shot in the arm while in his home.  He had sustained shrapnel damage to his chest as well. Devotees brought him to a local hospital for surgery and subsequently, he had to be driven back and forth every day to have his bandages changed. His wound has healed but he is experiencing weakness, especially in his arm.

Oleshki and the whole Kherson region are on the brink of a humanitarian crisis. Besides the shortage of supplies, the region is experiencing looting shops, stealing vehicles, and breaking into office buildings. The region is not safe and many people are in stress and fear.


April 3rd, Pavana Gaura das and Family

Pavana Gaura das, his wife, daughter, sister, and mother are from Oleshki in the Kherson region. The whole region has been under blockade since the beginning of the conflict. As previously stated, the region is undergoing a humanitarian crisis. Many stores, shops, and warehouses have run out of food and many medications are running out as well. This devotee family had been experienced a lot of financial hardships, but thanks to financial donations given to the family they were able to purchase some food and have made a small reserve. Pavana Prabhu was able to buy most of the necessary provisions and prepare for planting and growing food in a vegetable garden. He expects the harvest will be sufficient for about one year. The family is very grateful to the Vaishnavas who have supported and donated to help their family survive.


March 29th, 8:30 AM EST


Abhay Nitai das, his wife Katya, and son Radhika Raman, are a devotee family from Kyiv and they were engaged in regular service in the temple. The family asked for financial help when they came to Ternopil, they had no means to sustain themselves. They are able to buy groceries and pay for their basic needs like utilities. Every two days, they now hold programs for local devotees in their apartment and are able to give provide them with prasadam. In the background of the picture is the Ternopil temple.


Vraja Bihari Prabhu, his wife Premamaya Radha devi dasi, and his mother were struggling. Due to the conflict in Ukraine, they were not working and money soon started to run out. They urgently needed to leave and started their journey by car from Khmelnytskyi to Europe, and were accepted in Lithuania.

Thanks to your financial donations the family was able to buy fuel and food on their journey. They are now safe and are applying for temporary refugee asylum in Lithuania so that they can look for work and get reestablished.


March 27, 8 AM EST

1: Vraja Jivana Das and Yamuna Jivani Devi Dasi live in Oleshki in the Kherson region, which is presently blockaded and under Russian occupation. Currently, it is not possible to go in or out of the city and no humanitarian aid is allowed in. Due to this, stores ran out of provisions and have been empty for a couple of days now. The devotees are very grateful for the financial support that was given to them in their time of need. They were able to buy some provisions and keep a small reserve, and thanks to this financial support this family was even able to plant vegetables on their land. This family has shared with us that they feel encouraged because they feel like they have not been forgotten and are thankful that they have been financially supported in their time of need. They are even using their situation to preach to friends and family about Krishna Consciousness by explaining the mercy shown to them by Srila Prabhupada’s mercy and their ISKCON extended family.


2. Bhakta Andrey, his wife Katerina, and their 12-year-old daughter, Masha, are currently in Kherson, they had lived in an apartment in Kharkiv. Katerina is from Lugansk and experienced similar hostilities and aggressions before. She could not even imagine that it could happen again. When the shelling attacks began, the family had to hide in their basement for four days. On March 10th they decided to leave the city. Four days later, on March 14th, a shell hit their apartment. Their vehicle, a minivan, they had to leave nearby was also badly damaged.

Currently, Bhakta Andrei is safe and is in Poltava. His wife and daughter are on their way to Europe. The family is very grateful for the help they received, as they were left without shelter, belongings, and almost without any means to sustain themselves. Their packing had to be done quickly, and they only took the bare necessities with them. The money donated to them was mostly spent on food. They don’t know what will happen next, but they feel supported by the devotees and Krishna.


3. This family is Gauranga Chandra Das, his wife Valeria, his mother, and three children 15, 10, and 2 years old. This wonderful Vaishnava family lived in Mariupol until March 10th when they were evacuated. Currently, Mariupol is one of the hardest-hit cities in Ukraine. It’s hard to describe what people went through there and are going through. It’s a real hell on earth, but this family of devotees is now safe. They are in Dnipro and plan to move further west. The stores in Dnipro are now empty and the sirens are going off frequently. They shared with us it is very stressful to be there. The money donated to this family has not been spent yet, they are saving it because there is still a long way to go. The family is very grateful for the financial support.


Mariupol Update: March 18, 11 AM EST

It has been reported to us that approximately 60-70 devotees escaped through Mariupol between March 15th and 16th.

Devotees did risk being shot while trying to escape. Luckily, all those who made the move made it to safety. Approximately 60 devotees are still in there and there is no way to contact them currently. All devotees are requested to pray for them to safely get out.


Food Distribution in Lugansk: March 16, 11 AM EST

Sarvatma Prabhu from Lugansk states, “Today we bought 25 packages and distributed them to the needy devotees! Thank you very much !”



Devotees Were Able to Get Out of Ukraine March 15th

This is from one of approximately 50 devotees who safely escaped from Mariupol today, yesterday approximately 18 escaped as well.

[6:31 AM, 3/15/2022] (NAME AND PHONE NUMBER REMOVED BY REQUEST)

“Krishna. We have reached. That’s why I can send you a message. Please on our behalf offer obeisances to Mother and Gurudev and thank them for their prayers and thank all the devotees for their prayers. Only by your grace, we were able to get out of there. It was like a war movie or a horror movie.

We drove out and made it to the nearest town, but we will only stay here for one night and drive on. Because it’s tough here, too. The heating has been cut off. The electricity supply is not stable. So we will move on. We’re thinking about where to move further. We’ll watch the news tomorrow.

The kids are fine. We were fed here. Krishna is very merciful. Very protective of us. We are very worried. A lot of relatives left there and the other part of the devotees as well. Not all the devotees have left. Some of them were afraid to leave and will be leaving tomorrow morning.

We will continue to pray for them. Thank you very much. Hare Krishna. Once again, please accept our most sincere obeisances.”



Story of Survival from Kyiv

 

Vishnu Charan dasa, his wife Madhurekshana devi dasi, and young son Venu Gopal lived in the Kurenivka area of Kyiv where a lot of the hostilities of the conflict are taking place. Their son is not even a year old yet. The family had made a living by cooking and making prasadam made to order and are well known for their pizzas, and samosa. They are also active in sankirtana and serve in the Kyiv temple. Due to the conflict, the family was suffering financial difficulty and found themselves unable to work.

Thanks to financial donations the family was able to leave Kyiv and travel to the western part of Ukraine. They left via train and the trip took 11 hours. Madhurekshana devi dasi and their son had one seat and Vishnu Charan dasa stood the entire 11-hour train ride out of the city.

When the devotees arrived, all the men were made to register. After a couple of days, the military enlistment office came and asked to check their documents. After this Vishnu Charan dasa was handed a summons at the military enlistment office and is being sent to the army right now.

Madhurekshana devi dasi seems to be left alone with the child, and the money they have received from donations will help them with her and the child’s sustenance and needs.

Right now Vishnu Charan Prabhu is at the military recruitment office and this story is not over yet…



One Families Aid Arrives Just in Time, Nova Kakhovka

 

Goloka Nandini devi dasi, with her father-in-law, daughter Sati, and little girl Rasa Lila (3.5 years old) live in Nova Kakhovka. On the first day of the conflict, at 3 a.m. their town was invaded.

Numerous Ukrainian military that was present in Nova Kakhovka simply left the city. From that moment on and to this day the city is under blockade and is suffering from an extreme shortage of food, medical care, medicines, fuel, and many necessities for a normal life.

Goloka Nandini’s family was left without work, they had no finances to maintain themselves, and they were getting more and more desperate by the day. Her daughter, Sati, has health issues that require regular medical treatments. On top of that, the gas heater that heated the apartment broke down, and the weather was sub-zero outside.

Financial donations came just in time for this family. With the financial support they received, the family was able to buy food, maintain Sati’s healthcare needs, and fix the heater.

To do all this is not easy. There are long lines at the stores and warehouses that sell foods and goods. Necessary medicines are also not easy to find, there are hour-long queues at pharmacies and the most common and over-the-counter medicines are already sold out. But with the help of the mayor of the city, who was awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine by the Ukrainian government, and by the grace of the Lord, the devotees have purchased what they have needed so far.

Goloka Nandini also remarks that this financial aid has helped them emotionally as well. They do not feel abandoned or frightened anymore. Now they have hope and some sense of security.

 

 

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