Three years of war led to a split, poverty and took 10 of thousands of lives in Eastern Ukraine.
On the front line soldiers miss my family and normal life.
The brigade commander “Maestro” takes off his hat and reveals that his skull eight scars. It shows the open area in front and says: “Half — ours, the other half of them.”
Maestro urges us to duck.
“Here only tonight one shot,” he says.
A ceasefire agreement between Pro-Russian rebels and the Ukrainian army violated every day. This winter — after a period of relative stability from approximately only one killed in a day of bloody fighting broke out with renewed vigor.
The next day, after visiting the front line correspondents VG in this region were killed four Ukrainian soldier and one Pro-Russian separatists.
In the immediate vicinity of the enemy
The battalion, which arrived correspondents VG, is located 17 km from Debaltsevo. We are in the Eastern part of Ukraine, near the border with Russia. Here the majority of the population native language is Russian, and they also consider Russian.
The next position of the rebels, which is fighting a battalion of 54, only a mile away. There was a time when Pro-Russian forces were only 100 meters away from Ukrainian soldiers, tells us the commander in the camp.
Directly behind the front line where the fighting 372 soldier of the battalion, located in the village. On the way to camp we see hurrying about their business the elderly. They pull over a Packed snow wooden sled by factory buildings, emitting white smoke in the winter sky, and then — by an elementary school with colorful images of “Pigs Peppy” along the entry gates.
“The enemy is shooting from schools and kindergartens,” — said the soldiers.
But the inhabitants of these villages, which they are trying to protect, is much more sympathetic to the Pro-Russian forces.
“90% of villagers don’t want us here. They are on the Russian side and I don’t understand why our country should be Ukrainian,” — said the press Secretary of the battalion correspondents VG.
10 of thousands killed
At least 10 thousand people have been killed since the beginning of the armed conflict that broke out in April 2014 between Ukraine and Russian-backed groups. About half of the victims were civilians.
“The Russians thought that everything will happen quickly, as in the Crimea that if they come, we will surrender, and deliver them to the territory. But here is a little country up against the big. And now their resources are coming to an end, and people all tired,” — said the commander of the “Maestro” correspondents VG.
Dressed in camouflage, the commander goes, almost running, in front, over the white snow to what is the cutting edge of the government forces. The area was open in case of an attack to cover virtually nowhere. Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian government forces for three years shelling each other with rockets and grenades.
The conflict in Eastern Ukraine:
The armed conflict in Ukraine began in mid-April 2014, when Pro-Russian separatists raised the rebellion in the East of the country.
About 10 thousand people, half of them civilians, have been killed since then. Approximately 1.3 million residents of the region were forced to flee. 3.1 million people in Eastern Ukraine require humanitarian assistance.
In September 2014 the parties — the government in Kiev and Pro-Russian separatists in the East concluded the first agreement, which was to put an end to the conflict. The agreement was not fulfilled. Not done was the following — “the Minsk” agreement.
The fighting was heavy for both sides, the Ukrainian forces suffered some serious defeats. Last year, debaltseve was captured by Pro-Russian forces, and it continues to affect the course of the war.
“You know how it is when you have someone the girl leads? You can’t just look at it and do nothing?” — the member of Ukrainian National guard correspondents VG.
Russian military intervention in Ukraine led to the fact that Western countries have imposed sanctions against Russia, and this resulted in an even greater deterioration of relations between Russia and the West, they are simply ice.
Russia denies support of the separatists, but she acknowledged that in a war zone on their own initiative went “volunteers” and soldiers on leave.
Soldiers tired of war
Near the cutting edge we welcome in a bunker built of sandbags, covered with earth, snow, and pieces of felt of the same color as the area around. Here, in this wet and tight warm sleeping soldiers. On the benches in two floors.
The novel, which for 23 years, believes that the war has lasted for too long. He wants to go home to his wife, in his native city of Zaporozhye. “It’s 321 miles from here, I believe every kilometer of the way home,” he admits in a conversation with VG.
“Now all want to go home to the war to end quickly. To Wake up in the morning not because of explosions, but because you have an alarm and you gotta go to the factory. You Wake up, around your wife and children, you have the youngest in the school to send. I dream about the future,” — says quietly 23-the summer guy in a stuffy bedroom.
“Everything has changed”
The conflict in Ukraine has become one of the bloodiest in Europe since Balkan wars in the 1990-ies.
In the bunker a novel in despair usherusher sweaty hair. When he 23 years married, we imagined life would be quite different.
“So much has changed over the years. We used to live together as friends, lived in a world I didn’t really think about that between us and the Russians in common and what is different. Now everything has changed. The war pulled people out all the bad.”
Three times a day Roman and others receive food from chef Andrew. A small man with gold teeth in their 44 years looks about 20 years older. Previously, he worked for the Ukrainian Navy in Sevastopol in the Crimea, but when the Peninsula was ceded to Russia, he didn’t support it, and he had to leave. Like many others who shared his fate, he was here in the East of Ukraine.
Who is to blame for war?— we ask.
Andrew cuts with a blunt knife bow and shrugs.
“It’s all politics. Politics and money. We in this respect there is a Ukrainian saying: “Sirs fight, at lackeys forelocks crack””.