One Saturday in Dnipro, When a Russian Missile Shattered Lives

One Saturday in Dnipro, When a Russian Missile Shattered Lives

Ms. Afanasieva’s husband, Oleh Valovyi, took things in stride, though. Rockets had rained down on a number of cities that day, and the entire country was under an alert for hours.

“There are not that many bomb shelters,” Mr. Valovyi said, “and you get tired of running there because the air-raid alarms sound practically every day, several times a day.”

The couple were seated at their kitchen table when the missile hit, she with her left side facing a window, he directly in front of it. The blast blew out the window, and glass and debris shredded half of Ms. Afanasieva’s face. But her husband bore the brunt of it.

“He was just all black and bloody,” she said. “His face started to turn black under the eyes, and all that, my God.”

Finding their apartment door jammed, she went to the window screaming and waving a towel and a bathrobe, trying to catch the attention of firefighters who had started assembling below.

At the same time, Mr. Botvynov, facing the nine-story drop with no stairs, was frantically signaling with his cellphone’s flashlight, worried that his wife, who was bleeding profusely from her head, would lose consciousness.

On the fourth floor, Kateryna Zelenska, who is 27 and deaf, was trapped under the rubble, unable to signal emergency workers. Her husband, Oleksii Zelensky, 28, and their 1-year-old son, Mykyta, were somewhere nearby, but she did not know their conditions. Slabs of concrete had collapsed onto their apartment from the floors above. Somehow, Ms. Zelenska managed to make a brief call to her mother, apparently to say goodbye.

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