ERR in Ukraine: Avdiivka residents forced to put up with daily bombardment

Anton Aleksejev in Avdiivka.
Anton Aleksejev in Avdiivka. Source: ERR

Many civilian objects in Donbas are under constant Russian bombardment. Avdiivka has been a front-line city since 2014 and its residents are bombarded several times a day, ERR correspondent Anton Aleksejev reports.

For over a month, Avdiivka resident Kristina has been forced to walk her dog Satu on her balcony or what's left of it. Constant shelling means residents try to avoid going out if possible. Many fled the city when the war started.

"We tried to leave, went to Dnipro Oblast. I'm a cook, I make pizza and pies, but there was no work for me there. We have animals to feed, we have a large dog. That is why we came back – we could not find work and couldn't afford to live there. When the bombardment intensifies, we take cover in the basement and try to survive," Kristina said.

She and her husband are looking for a way to escape again and are relying on volunteers to help them.

"We are looking for ways to evacuate the family. They have two cats, a large dog, cooker and other belongings. We need to coordinate with volunteers in Poltava Oblast so they would receive these people, find a place for them in Mirgorod and a way for them to make a living," said volunteer Aleksandr Kachura, fighter in the Druzhkovka territorial defense unit.

Avdiivka first became a battleground when the war in Donbas erupted in 2014-2015. Signs of those battles can still be seen. Now, the city is suffering new damage every day.

"I think it was much easier in 2014-2015. The city did come under fire but not as frequently. Now, shells are falling all the time – from morning to evening. The city has suffered much more damage. There were bombardments and buildings caught on fire back then, but there was much less of it. Today, there are burnt apartment in every building," Liubov said.

Despite the fact the city's water supply has been disrupted and there is practically no electricity, Liubov and her husband Vitali do not want to leave Avdiivka.

"No, we are not planning on leaving. While you do get the urge sometimes, especially when they are firing. It is hard to take. Once it hits critical mass and you run out of patience, that's when you feel you could leave. But my wife and I both have serious health problems. It would be difficult for me to go far," Vitali said.

Most residents of Avdiivka still in the city are forced to live in basements.

"We have nowhere to go. Nowhere. We're pensioners, my husband is very ill, he has cancer. We stayed because we're old people. What will happen… I don't know, while it is not looking good. Perhaps we'll survive, perhaps not," Galina said.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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