Saturday, March 19, 2022

A Note Included From Polish Origins & More From Alex

I know a lot of you stop by and read my posts (137 already today & 154 yesterday). Five people asked me to continue the emails from Alex and I will continue to do so. I think it's important for everyone to know what the Russian military is doing in Ukraine. One can not agree with bombing apartment houses, schools, and hospitals. My cousin Dan in Wisconsin has also been in touch with Alex so now it gets even more personal. 

So here is the latest from Alex and a quick note from Polish Origins:

Dear All,

There are more than 2 mln people from Ukraine in Poland now, mostly children and women. New laws have been quickly introduced and more detailed regulations are still being adapted in Poland for Ukrainian citizens. Now, they can legally stay in Poland for at least 18 months, they can get their PESEL (personal identity numbers) which will help to use most public services (like healthcare). 

Hundreds of organizations and millions of individuals are actively helping refugees, also by inviting them to their houses for them to have a place to stay and live. As I recently read, from a psychological point of view, it is a much more valuable way for people to deal with trauma situations if they can function in everyday family life than if they were accommodated in refugee camps.

Next week besides Alex’s reports we will share with you a personal account of a teenager who managed to flee Kharkiv with his friend and their adult custodian. 

Now, read and see how is life in Zhitomir:



"Dear friends,

It looks like that the main goal for Putin is Kyiv, Kharkiv and some Southern cities in Ukraine.

Yesterday and today Kyiv was shelled and mainly it was in a residential area.

My friend was trying to evacuate a family from Makariv, which is the district center between Zhitomir and Kyiv. At the checkpoint in Stavysche he was strongly discouraged to go to Makariv. Ukrainians soldiers simply said that Makariv is a gray zone, where neither Russians or Ukrainians control. There is no definite front line. The Russians changed their tactics and worked in smaller groups spreaded in the forests rather than moving on the highway's in long convoys. 

Yarik, that is the name of my friend, shared that it was nothing like on TV to see war chaos in his own eyes. "I never knew who was shooting Russians or Ukrainians. But I was scared to death." Shared Yarik with me. The main highway is strewn with civil cars, burned and with bullet holes.

When last time in the food stores it became obvious that instead of 4 of chicken meat, only one producer from Western parts of the city still delivers product to supermarkets.

It is obvious the supply chain is broken. The logistics are broken. Of course the most important thing is to survive in this war, but you can’t survive without food and other basic products.

I visited Vigoda, a small village 20 km West from Zhitomir. I have been involved in the life of the rehab center for the ex-addicts since 2003 and helped them to become sustainable. The guys in this rehab center keep a small farming operation for their needs. Misha, the director of the center, told me that it is hard to buy grain crops to plant for their cows and goats. They found only one entrepreneur from Therniachov, who still has some corn and wheat.


Based on the progress of the Russian army in the South, many farmers would not be able to plant this spring. 

We never know when this war will be over, how Ukraine will look like after this war, but for sure the basic needs in food would be urgent.


P.S.  I received this map from a gentleman from Germany in January, almost a month before the Russian invasion .  He was a member of OSCE (Organization of Security in Europe) to monitor the last elections in Ukraine. I was his driver and interpreter. The map shows new borders, marked with Z-line. This is just an opinion from a German analyst. But..."


"Dear friends,

I turned 45 yesterday. This was the first time in 24 years that I celebrated it without my wife.  

In comparison with people from Mariupol or Kharkov, I’m doing great! Everything is relative. People in Lviv are sure that they are doing better than we in Zhitomir.

My friends came for a short visit yesterday. The curfew starts at 8pm and lasts till 7 am.

I put old military maps of Zhitomir oblast and Kyiv oblast on my wall. We marked all the places where the land battles went.

Sasha the builder shows Sasha the bookkeeper the places where he worked in the outskirts of Kyiv

Ukrainian authorities have called for ready reservists. This is the second line of reserve. FYI we have four lines. I and most of my friends are in the last line.

Every big city in Ukraine turns into well protected castles, there is little chance for Russian troops to win the land battles. That is why they choose to bomb the cities from the air.

Nothing can stop life. I mentioned before that I saw more people this week than last week.

A good sign was to see kids playing in the neighborhood playground.

I needed to exchange money today. Exchange points are still closed. Bank exchange rate is not the best. But the black market people are at work. I personally like to see their skills of counting money. Quick and no mistakes.

I choose life. Life is good!




"Dear friends,

Couple years ago I made friends with a bunch of kids who lived in the dormitory opposite the new SMU office in Zhitomir. The kids were climbing the fences of SMU property to help themselves with apples.  We made a deal with them. They come through the gates, help me clean around and I will let them play in the lawn and take as many apples as they want. 

On Fridays I would make them hotdogs and I love to listen to their stories. I liked them a lot. They were mainly from poor families and they didn’t have smartphones. They spent a lot of time playing with each other outside in the fresh air. I had a similar childhood.

Today I met Serega and Misha. They told me that the other kids I know left for Poland.  I invited them for a tea and sandwich.

Misha is 12 and he is an only child. His father got a stroke and his mom works at the drugstore. They stayed in Ukraine to take care of Misha's father.

Sergey is 10 and he has a sister Zlata. They stayed because the mother refused to leave her husband alone in Ukraine.

I asked them a question. Who will win this war and why.





  1. It is really a pity to see these children alone and abandoned to an indifferent world, what will become of them in the future?

  2. Mark
    Even if some of the people who have left Ukraine come back when the war is over their lives will never be the same. Everything they had is gone---all because of Putin!!!