ERR in Ukraine: Donbas settlements under daily Russian missile fire

ERR correspondent Anton Aleksejev in Donbas on Thursday. June 16, 2022.
ERR correspondent Anton Aleksejev in Donbas on Thursday. June 16, 2022. Source: ERR

Settlements in the Donbas region of Ukraine that had until recently seemed safe are currently under daily Russian missile fire. ERR correspondents Anton Aleksejev and Kristjan Svirgsden visited the city of Druzhkivka on Thursday.

The last time we were in Druzhkivka was four weeks ago. At the time, this town was far into the rear. Since then, the situation has changed completely.

Early this week, a Russian missile destroyed more than ten houses here.

"Now we're all living in the rubble here," said Nelli, an older woman. "Look, there was a house here — now there isn't anymore. An old woman died there; they weren't able to save her. A woman was rescued at 2:30 in the morning — thank God she survived — but they didn't manage to save a 70-year-old woman. She died under the rubble."

Nonetheless, neither Nelli nor her neighbors intend to leave Druzhkivka.

"We're not gonna start going anywhere, because we were born and raised here," she said. "We'll fix everything up, clean up trash. We were brought plastic sheeting to cover the roof. We have to do that ourselves. We were helped a bit. We've been promised that someone might help some more somehow. But right now we're living in ruins."

Journalists working for a local newspaper have turned their editorial office into a humanitarian aid center. On Thursday, they were handing out diapers and toiletries to parents with babies and young children.

"People have slowly started to return to the city," said Andriy Nazarov, director of the humanitarian aid center. "This is tied to the fact that those who left town at the beginning of the war have run out of money; that is why people are returning."

City residents are facing a lot of issues, not all of which can be resolved by the distribution of humanitarian aid.

"Because of the war, our main issue is the lack of water and gas supply," Nazarov said. "Of the benefits of civilization, all that remain are the internet and power."

In recent weeks, city residents have gotten used to waiting in line for water.

"Sometimes we're brought water, sometimes not," Sergiy said. "You stand in line, it's like there's water, and then it runs out. The line is long — you have to wait at least half a day here."

Tanker truck driver Aleksandr was convinced that there would be enough water to go around, and that everything would work out soon.

"Everything will be restored, naturally, including the waterworks," he said. "Everything will be repaired. Hopefully within the next couple of days."


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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