“I live in hell”
On June 15, 2014, a veteran of the Azov Regiment, Rollana Bondarenko, her son Vitalii Taranin and daughter-in-law Alla left Krasnohorivka in Donetsk region.
“My son said that we will not stay there and he will not work for this government, for some nobody — drug addicts, alcoholics — we knew them all, and there were many pro-Russian provocateurs. We pondered where to go. We thought about Azov. It was scary — a military unit but my children, my son and his girlfriend, thought it over and decided that we would go to help.”
They hoped that they would be in Mariupol for a short time volunteering for one or two months, and by the new year, the war would end, and they would return to their former lives. Instead, Krasnohorivka was under occupation, and returning home was off the cards.
Every night and every morning, Rollana was waiting for messages from her children. They were brief: “I’m on duty,” “Mom, I’m here,” or much longer: “There is so much to tell but I can not, details later. The plane bombed us today, we shot it down. Our fighting spirit here is a record high. We’re ready to rip them apart.”
In April 2022, Vitalii Taranin was killed by Russians.