Ukraine’s liberation of Novyi BurlukUkraine’s army liberated Novyi Burluk, 75 kilometers from Kharkiv, on Sept. 10, during its swift fall counteroffensive in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine’s army liberated Novyi Burluk from Russian occupation; locals faced harassment, looting, and destruction.
The small Ukrainian hamlet of Novyi Burluk in Kharkiv Oblast was occupied by Russian soldiers on the first day of a full-scale invasion in February 2022. The occupation lasted seven months, leaving the village a shadow of its former self, with bullet holes pockmarking the fences of homes. On September 10, Ukraine’s army liberated Novyi Burluk.
Anatolii Brezhnyk, a resident of the village, recalled the horrors of the occupation, including the shooting of a 10 year old girl, Katya Vinarska. Katya had been wounded in Russian shelling and was shot as her grandparents drove her from Noviy Burluk to a hospital in neighboring Chuhuiv. Valentyn, Brezhnyk’s neighbor, stayed in the village for 98 days until Russian soldiers almost shot him.
The wanton killings quickly escalated as Russians took over the village. Russian troops seemed lost at first, and Valentyn recalled a convoy coming and not having any maps. The Brezhnyks were left alone in the village, subjected to four long months of constant harassment. Russians constantly used humiliation and fear to extort goods from locals, and stole and destroyed everything they could.
Liudmyla Brezhnyk had a close call after refusing to give her car to a Russian soldier at a roadblock in Artemivka. She contacted the Ukrainian army, which identified the coordinates of targets like the destroyed warehouse housing the remnants of charred tanks seen at the entrance of the village.
The occupation of Novyi Burluk was a long nightmare of constant looting and destruction. The wanton killings, humiliation and fear used by the Russian soldiers left a deep impact on the locals. Despite the horrors they faced, the Brezhnyks remained resilient and determined to protect their home.