Ukrainians return to liberated village by boat

STORY: This family is making a trip that was unthinkable a few weeks ago.

They're going home to their liberated village of Staryi Saltiv - in Ukraine's Kharkiv region.

With the bridge to their village destroyed, the only way there is by crossing a reservoir on a small rowing boat.

We're happy to go home, says Serhii Negrovyi.

He and his family had lived under shelling since February.

The Russian invasion began shortly after his daughter was born.

His hometown was taken by Russian troops and occupied until May - when it was retaken by Ukrainian forces.

But the area remained under constant artillery fire from Russians until their retreat in September.

The bridge was blasted by Ukrainian troops early on - in an attempt to stop Russian advances.

Negrovyi's wife Olena, described the situation in her village.

“It was difficult. The neighbor’s house got shelled, then the house next to it. There were explosions in the neighbor’s yard. Thank God the children are fine. I am going home, thank God.”

Even though the family is able to finally reach their isolated village - the future is uncertain.

Transporting food and supplies is difficult due to the destroyed bridge.

And reaching the other side by road will be a huge detour that takes six hours.

Their hope is volunteers on boats will help them through the winter.