Military Ukraine: we are so accustomed to shooting that almost do not notice it

In Kiev in the midst of a celebration of Eurovision and the Ukrainian soldiers show the cruel consequences of war.

“The fact that Ukraine at the same time can make the Eurovision song contest and fight with separatists in the East of the country, is a big plus for our country,” says Ukrainian soldiers three years of conflict with Pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass. He guards one of the most dangerous checkpoints.

“It is bad that we shelled. From here to the enemy around 400-600 meters.”

Ukrainian soldiers Vitaly caution indicates a direction through a small hole in the window, protected by sand bags. NRK’s correspondents were allowed to visit one of the most dangerous positions of the Ukrainian army, which is in a dilapidated boarding Marinka.

Vitaly approximately 35 years, he, like all the other soldiers here at the front in Donbass, really wants to during an interview with NRK we only used his call sign was “kit-Kat”.

“Kit-Kat” we met on may 10, after the Victory Day which is still celebrated as a big feast and Ukraine, and in Russia in memory of the victory over the Nazis in world war II.

“There was an agreement on a full ceasefire to the Victory Day, so it’s a shame that the enemy and this day led us to the fire,” says “kit-Kat”.

“We in Russia and Ukraine, despite everything, still want to celebrate the victory over Nazism. And though we were shelled, we do not answer the shots,” said Ukrainian soldiers do not feel much sympathy to those who fight on the side Pro-Russian separatists.

“They made their choice. They betrayed their country, and I don’t want to live with these people. This is my personal opinion, but many people think the same,” says “kit-Kat”.

Shooting from morning till evening

“Yesterday they were shelling us from morning to evening — as single shots and bursts,” says the squad leader.

Sergey “the Pivot” — from Donetsk region, but he decided to fight on the side of Ukrainian government forces, while his hometown is under the control of Pro-Russian separatists.

“At night we often fire heavy weapons,” — says the “Pivot”.

He was about 25 years old, but he already commanded this strategically important and dangerous post located in old buildings of schools and boarding schools in the North of Marinka.

Everything around us looks like a war zone. All the locals have left here, and nothing grows around the destroyed houses. Only here and there make their way to the tulips, giving a timid hope for life.

“Here the war continues,” says “Pivot”, taking us on a dirty dirt road. From time to time we shelled light armoured vehicles.

The civilian population is suffering

“The saddest thing is that the enemy seems totally oblivious to the fact that in some areas of Marinka still people live,” says the “Pivot”. He asks us to walk briskly at a distance of 10 meters from each other — to the forward command post, located in the old boarding school for troubled children.

NRK employees are strictly instructed on what and what not to do. Bulletproof vests and helmets we follow the “Pivot”, which is on the head — something like summer Panama. Your bullet proof vest he left the room command post.

“I would like that in a time when we were the center of attention in connection with the Eurovision song contest in Europe knew about the situation of people who live on the front lines — here in the East of Ukraine”, — said the “Pivot”.

“It’s clear that Eurovision is important to us, and I will certainly watch it, if we can accept the transfer,” — says Sergey “Pivot”, the commander of one of the most dangerous posts of the Ukrainian troops on the Eastern front.

Conditions of reception of transmission of Ukrainian television here in the combat zone, very bad. It is much easier to accept transfer from the Pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk.

Marinka in the line of fire

Since the war started in Eastern Ukraine in summer 2014 Marinka is in the line of fire. After the first year of the fighting for the city was a fierce battle, and most of the destruction that can be seen today, arose as a result of those battles.

More than half of the population left the city, and on the main street of Marinka, you can see mainly only the elderly.

“There is constant shooting, though, and today is calm,” — says Lyudmila Chilicasino.

She is one of the few young among those we met at the grocery store in the center of Marinka.

“For us it is already familiar. Those who still live here, hiding in the cellars when the shells are broken is particularly strong,” says Lyudmila.

The conflict continued for three years, but she decided to stay in the frontline town of Marinka.

“I don’t want to hide. I used to war,” — says Lyudmila.

Olga Salimanca another one of those who stubbornly refuses to leave Marinka.

“I live here with children. One corner of the house collapsed when it was hit by a shell, and many Windows broken. But we will when the war is over,” she says.

NRK: when will it happen?

Olga: I Hope that soon, and President Petro Poroshenko will try to have it done.

She is smiling at us, showing an uneven row of teeth.

Inside the building the orphanage, which housed the Ukrainian military, Vasily “kit Kat” shows us what is an advanced position in the direction of “crocodile” — heaps of slag, similar in shape to the back of a crocodile. There are positions Pro-Russian separatists.

NRK: When peace comes?

“Kit-Kat”: Hard to say. If Russia will stop deliveries of military equipment to the separatists, it’s all over very quickly. It depends on Russia and President Vladimir Putin.

The war has become a habit

He says that war has become a habit for him. Like almost everyone else, held a service here on the Eastern front, he serves as the army under the contract. With 2014 in the Ukrainian army, mostly volunteers, but now the Ukrainian army is becoming more and more professional.

“Of course, it’s hard to live away from the family, but the families support us and I can during the time off regularly to go home. The Eurovision song contest shows that we are open for contacts with Europe and the rest of the world. We can guarantee the safety of guests, performers and you, the journalists, while they themselves are at war with those who want to destroy our country here in the East. In this way we show that we are a European country”, — said Vasily “kit-Kat”. Like “Pivot”, he hopes a little bit to watch the final on Saturday — if the signal will reach its checkpoint in Marinka in the East of Ukraine.