ERR Ukraine: Every meter liberated means less fighting

Huliaipole. Source: ERR

Ukraine's counteroffensive in the east of the country has been going on for a month, with Ukrainian forces trying to break through the Russians' considerable defensive lines. For local residents, each meter liberated means less fighting.

The front line has been running through the city of Huliaipole for a year and a half, while Ukrainian forces have now managed to push the Russians back a little.

Active combat operations mean that journalists are not allowed to visit Ukrainian positions, with talking to the locals the only way to gauge the situation. They spend most of their times hiding in basements.

"There is a little less shelling now. Nothing has fallen in the city center in recent days, only in the suburbs. I only want one thing, for them to be pushed back from here, for it all to end," volunteer Serhii said.

The city's remaining around 2,000 residents can feel relatively safe in the so-called "unbreaking point." Volunteer Natalia also said that the shelling has subsided in recent days.

Natalia is responsible for maintaining communal washing machine and shower facilities. "We have had nothing for a year and a half – no water, electricity, nothing. This place is a great help to people. Many are forced to live in basements and have no way of washing themselves. We lack drinking water and only have technical water here," she said.

Huliaipole looks like a ghost town. The city's remaining residents only seldom dare exit their basements to visit the "unbreaking point." In addition to water and humanitarian aid, it also has the city's only functional TV set for information of what is happening elsewhere.

"I'm fresh from there. The Melitopol heading, the Berdiansk heading, Bakhmut heading... We don't understand these military things," local resident Lyubov said. "We would just like to wake up one morning and have victory."

Asked whether the fact the Russians have been pushed back has seen a reduction in shelling, Lyubov suggested it is hard to tell. "God is watching over us, but it's still scary. No one knows where the next one will fall. It's terrible!"

The front line currently runs roughly six kilometers from Huliaipole.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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