'I live in a Cold War-era fallout shelter'

STORY: In a small village near the Kherson region of Ukraine, leftover relics from the Cold War have proven to be a life-saving refuge for the people who remain.

This might look like a basement, but it's not. It's a fallout shelter, a bunker, originally constructed in 1950s by the Soviets to house soldiers in a nuclear war with the West.

And now Svitlana Gynzhul is one of five people living here. When you see what it's like above ground, you'll understand why.

"After my apartment was bombed, I took things from there to the bunker: my gas stove and blankets. Because we built this building here we can live like normal people. When shells flew overhead, we had our comforts down here. And now we still live here."

The fact she has had to live in this 70-year-old structure shows the desperate measures Ukrainians have had to take to survive.

The village, called Luch, has two bunkers like this. This one originally had heavy metal doors, bunk beds, and gas masks, but they were all stolen before the war because, as Gynzhul says, no one thought it would ever need to be used.

Nine hundred thirty five people used to live in Luch, but now only 50 or so are left, and 30 live underground in the two bunkers and a basement. She's been living full-time underground with her husband and son since August.

"From the first day, when everything started, we started to clean up the bomb shelter. And it was very good that we started doing that because on February 24, at night at 11 p.m., a shell exploded in our village. In the first stage we were being shelled only at night, meaning people only came to the shelter at night. But after the shelling increased, we were being shelled day and night."

"We immediately brought retirees and children here, because we knew it wouldn't be easy for them. It hurt me to see how everything got destroyed. I was frightened and hurt."

Gynzhul's son is preparing to deploy with the Ukrainian army soon to the ongoing battle of Bakhmut, currently one of the worst in the war.

His mother says she also used to pass information on Russian troop movements to the Ukrainian military, when they occupied the area. The Russians were pushed out last fall.