DONETSK, UKRAINE — Away from the two government buildings being held by pro-Russian separatists, normal life goes on in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. Many residents are concerned, though, that Ukraine's decision to restart what it calls "anti-terrorist operations" against separatists could draw the entire region into a military confrontation with Russia.
Since seizing two municipal buildings in Donetsk, pro-Russian activists have held fewer rallies in the streets.
Yulia Sadan, who works at the Coffee Street Cafe, said now it is back to business as usual in the city. “When there were rallies the main street was closed and there were fewer customers, but now everything is calm in the city. People are walking in the streets. It's nice and warm.”
The Ukrainian flag still flies over the Bank of Russia building despite rumors it was to be replaced by the Russian flag.
Parents rent tricycles for their children to ride in Lenin Square near a small group of anti-Kyiv protesters.
While life basically has returned to normal, many Donetsk residents are concerned and conflicted over Ukraine's decision to relaunch operations against the pro-Russian separatists occupying government buildings.
Vladimir Zosimov said the government should negotiate more. “Very Bad. There is no dialogue and this is already sad. And if there will be more victims, it will be even more sad," he said.
But many people think it is time for action, people like Vitaliy who did not want to give his last name.
Vitaliy, a Donetsk resident, said, "There needs to be more decisive moves toward the stabilization of the events in the region. That is not only my opinion, but the majority of Donetsk residents. We are not in favor of what is happening.”
Many others in Donetsk, however, say they would just like the whole conflict to go away so that normal life can go on.