Jowita Kiwnik-Pargana: "My Ukrainian heroes"

It started with the border. Shortly after the war in Ukraine began, I went to the border crossing point, not to work yet, but to bring humanitarian aid. At that time, a stream of people, mainly women and children, was flowing across the border, all the plans they had made becoming obsolete from one day to the next.

I met women who managed to pack all their belongings into one backpack and walked dozens of kilometres to the border, pushing children in strollers. They left their husbands and sons in their country and didn't know where they would sleep at night or who might take them in.

I went to Ukraine soon after, this time as a journalist, to show how the war has been transforming human lives.

I heard the story of Inna from Mariupol, who hid in a basement for three weeks and saw the bodies of her neighbours lying on the street but couldn't bury them because shells were still falling all around.

Petro, also from Mariupol, told me how he looked for drinking water in the bends of cast iron radiators.

And 82-year-old Halina, who was left alone during the war, said "I saw an old woman. I went up to her, she was crying. I told her: 'don't cry, wherever you're going, I'll go. I won't leave you'".

I remember the Ukrainian children who spoke about what the war was to them. Five-year-old Alisa, who knew that people were being killed during the war. And 12-year-old Zhenia, who said with conviction that Putin was not a president but a dictator.

I learned the story of a girl whose surrogate mother left her right after she was born and whose biological parents never came forward.

The list of heroes from my report is long, behind each name is another story marked by the war. It's not easy to listen to these stories, but in times like these you need to keep your nerves in check.

This is not the time for our emotions, we're not here to cry with our heroes, but to listen to their stories. The time for tears comes later, after work, at home.

Ukrainians are keen to speak. They want to talk about the atrocities perpetrated by the Russians, they want to defeat Russian disinformation, which says that Ukrainians are lying about attacks and murdering themselves.

Our purpose as journalists is to let the world hear about what is really happening in Ukraine.