Iva Zimova/Panos Pictures

Zaporizhzhie (Zaporizhzhia), Ukraine

Elina Cibulchenkova spent almost two months in the bunkers under Azovstal, the steelworks, where she worked all her life. Elina lost her mother. She was eighty-three. "I saw my mum two months ago. Shelling was terrible. We were looking for her, but her apartment was in ruins and we think she is gone. Maybe it's somewhere under ruins. We couldn't find her anymore. Our apartments were destroyed by the Russian's bombs. My apartment, my daughter's apartment and mother's apartment. The Russians destroyed everything. We hid in the hallway for four days. I was very scared. We were hungry. The son-in-law brought biscuits from somewhere, they were full of glass. So I picked out the shards and we ate it."

Elina (54) has worked in Azovstal all her life as a head of quality control. She knew there was a bunker system under the factory and that there was water. On 1 March 2022, during heavy shelling, she told her family: "Let's go to Azovstal. We'll hide there." The next day they moved to a bunker under the steel plant. On 1 May 2022, Ukrainian soldiers helped them out and with help from the UN and the International Red Cross Elina arrived with her daughter and son-in-law safely in Zaporozhie.

Part of story
Object Name
Iva Zimova/Panos Pictures
Zaporizhzhie (Zaporizhzhia)
Max size
High Resolution
5000 x 3205 pixels
42.33 x 27.14 cm (300 dpi)
16.67 x 10.68 inch (300 dpi)
4.1 MB size on disk
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