“We were sitting in the cellar,” Mr. Davidovych said. “Shells were flying and bombs.”
“I have a lot of Russian friends, but these men were not good,” Ms. Davidovych said. Some of the men were in their 40s and seemed experienced soldiers, she said. They sat in the upstairs rooms and fired from the windows on the streets below, she said, opening the window to show.
On the intersection beside the house, a body in bright blue fleece lay hunched over the steering wheel of a crushed car. It was not clear how the person had died, but the car seemed to have been smushed by an armored vehicle.
“They were shooting, shooting,” Ms. Davidovych said. “And they made a terrible mess and stole things.” Mostly the soldiers took socks and T-shirts, she said. But her husband showed where they had pulled two safes into the yard with their tanks and broken them open.
There were young soldiers, too, Ms. Davidovych said. One, called Vanya, was only 19 and told them he dreamed of being wounded and sent home.
“He understood they were occupiers,” she said.
Galina Levitskaya, 60, a retired teacher, said she had no negative experiences with the enlisted Russian soldiers who patrolled the town. It was her impression, she said, that they had orders to be polite and to share their meal rations, which they did. “They helped us carry bags,” she said.