In the East of Ukraine continue to go sluggish, but brutal battles and the world almost never sees. For the residents of the houses located between the positions of each party in the cities Marinka and Avdeevka, this conflict was very visible and unavoidable part of everyday life.
Shooting starts every morning between 8 and 9 hours with the regularity of an alarm clock. Click sniper guns, rifles, heavy machine guns barking, and the roar of automatic grenade launchers is heard in the deadly fields of Donbass. At night the battles of heavy artillery and tanks forced residents not to leave their homes, which sometimes are not too reliable shelter: may 13, four civilians of Ukraine have been killed on the territory of the Town under the control of Ukrainian government artillery shells fired from the territory controlled by the separatists.
Roads and fields littered with landmines. They need to cause death, lead to permanent losses to escalate the horror. In late April, one American, who worked as a medic in the team of civilian observers were killed and two other crew members were injured when a mine destroyed their vehicle.
Continuous fighting especially hard to tolerate about 800 thousand civilians who still remain in their homes located near the front line or directly on it. Among them about 100 thousand of those living in the so-called gray zone between Ukrainian and Pro-Russian separatists.
“We are deathly afraid of silence, the woman said the Ukrainian Marinka living on the front line. This means that they are preparing forces to some serious blow.” The Windows of the house where this woman, filled with heavy metal plates to protect from bullets and shrapnel. In Marinka live from five to seven thousand people. Before the war its population was almost 10 thousand people.
When former Pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych fled to Russia in February 2014 in the midst of fierce anti-government protests, few imagined that his departure may lead to such consequences. Within a month Russia annexed the Crimea and supported Ukrainian separatists using Russian supplied weapons, for example, anti-aircraft systems, which, according to investigators, was shot down Malaysian airlines flight MH17. Ukraine resisted in June 2014, defeating the Pro-Russian separatists. Desperately trying to respond to the humiliation, Russia retaliated by deploying their conventional forces and mechanized forces, thereby holding the Ukrainian army in Ilovaisk and Debaltsevo. Since the parties were in direct confrontation along a temporary line, stretching for hundreds of miles around Lugansk and Donetsk.
About 100 thousand soldiers and volunteers were randomly scattered in the trenches, garrisons haphazard and improvised fighting positions on both sides of the conflict, which made so-called because no government yet has not declared war. Many Ukrainians had hoped that the victory of Hillary Clinton in last year’s elections in the US will lead to active Western interference. The election of Donald trump in Ukraine met with sadness and pessimism: his statements during the presidential campaign gave the Ukrainians to understand that he is for the Imperial and territorial ambitions of Russia. Moscow is quietly gathered at the Ukrainian border, the armed forces may at last to join straying Republic of Donbass. President trump has not yet offered any long term solutions in this conflict, apart from sending to Ukraine modest financial assistance. His actions are similar to the steps of the former President Barack Obama.
This tacit approval of the status quo allowed the conflict to gain strength and momentum. Earlier this year, the Pro-Russian separatists made a series of violations of the cease-fire, which was the largest since the beginning of 2015. By mid-March the government of Ukraine supported the controversial and expensive border blockade of Donbass.
Winter 2016-2017 was difficult, the situation was aggravated by the ongoing conflict. Woman, aged nearly 80 years, born in Russia, and asks, like many other people I talked to here, not to publish her name, so afraid of retaliation, lives in an apartment with a concrete floor and damp walls. In winter, at night, when the temperature reaches minus 19 degrees Celsius, here it seems colder because of the sudden gusts of wind, meets with no obstacles on the plains. She said that gas heating was not here in 2014. In the winter she uses electric heaters. They cost her $ 100 per month at retirement at $ 35.
“I work part-time so I had enough to live on, she told me in an interview. — I’ll sweep the school yard, grow vegetables.” Since because of the projectile in the room was on fire carpet, it keeps the window a pitcher of water.
Many of those who remained in the combat zone, elderly people, they are too weak, too poor or too stubborn to move. One woman aged about 90 years lives in a destroyed fighting the plant. The walls of her house riddled with bullets and shrapnel, the Wallpaper in the living room were blackened by soot, balcony burned down after being hit by a missile in 2014. It has reached the point that lives on the alms of passers-by.
“This war is worse than the last — she told me last year, speaking about the Second world war, in which she participated while serving in the army of the Soviet Union. — After the difficulties of youth I never thought to see it again war, especially in old age.”
Because of the conflict from the region of the left 2-3. 5 million people. According to the high Commissioner for refugees, at least 1.6 million Ukrainians migrated to the fighting in the West, closer to Kiev. Russia claims that 2.6 million Ukrainian citizens have moved to the East. The report, which presents data by March 12, the Agency for refugees has also estimated that from mid April 2014 to mid-March 2017, at least 9940 people have been killed and wounded 23455.
Border cities such as Avdiivka and Marinka, continue to hold. In other places along the border the situation is even worse. A year ago, when I was in Experienced in August 2016, its population was 13 people. As the residents said, it is only a fraction compared to the time before the war. There were a lot of abandoned houses. One of them smelled like a slaughterhouse. In former municipal buildings into floors and ceilings were pierced with holes. Cheerful mural with scenes of village life cracked and faded. Centrifuge in a former agricultural laboratory revalee, birds nested in the former library with rotting books and technical manuals. A few civilians that I met during that trip, rested on the street, while one woman was cooking something over an open fire.
In this “nevoie” in the East of Ukraine Trump failed to even slightly improve the situation, which resulted from the disastrous efforts of Obama in countering the Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory.
While the President of America is distracted by the investigation of Russian interference in the elections of 2016, which is carried out under the guidance of a specially appointed Prosecutor, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin appreciates the opportunities of his country in Ukraine. The continuing violence, combined with the recent wave of murders and assassinations in Ukraine does not promise anything good to the region in question stability. If Russia will invade Ukraine, it could trigger a wider European conflict, and 800 thousand Ukrainian civilians, quietly stanovich teeth in between shelling may become 8 million.