News / Europe

    In Donetsk, Frequent Shelling Fuels Distrust

    Civilians Under Fire in Donetsk Face Uncertain Futurei
    X
    June 08, 2015 11:03 PM
    While ongoing fighting in east Ukraine threatens a hard-won peace deal, war-weary civilians are caught in the crossfire. In areas held by Russia-backed rebels, many tend to blame authorities in Kyiv, but most seem more interested in peace than breaking away from Ukraine. As VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from rebel-held Donetsk, even if peace is eventually established, winning back the population's hearts and minds is going to be a real challenge.
    Daniel Schearf

    Yekaterina Ivanovna had just fallen asleep in her home here Saturday when a boom outside her door jarred her.

    Shells fall almost every night in this part of town, north of the city’s train station, according to residents. Ivanovna said she didn’t know where this one came from and was relieved it hurt no one. But there’s no guarantee for the next one.

    "How can I stay alive, how can I survive in this small house?" Ivanovna said in Russian, standing in a wall-papered room strewn with rubble. "I do not have any basement. I cannot run to the summer kitchen because I am old."

    The ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine threatens a February cease-fire and strains war-weary civilians like Ivanovna who are caught in the crossfire.

    The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) says cease-fire violations are spreading. In areas held by Russia-backed rebels, many tend to blame authorities in Kyiv, though most seem more interested in peace than breaking away from Ukraine. But even if peace eventually takes hold, winning back hearts and minds in this rebel-held city is going to be a challenge.

    Ivanovna, like others here, thinks her best option is to stay.

    "I am ready to sit hungry, as long as they don't shoot," she said. "I want to die my own death, but not under this bombardment, not under this fear that flies in the sky."

    Finding shelter

    In another neighborhood, some choose to sleep underground in a makeshift bomb shelter.

    Baba Masha and her family have been living here since November, when a shell hit a neighbor's house and the shock wave blew out their windows.

    "I really hope we will soon go back home," the elderly woman said. "If the war had not happened, we would live in this damaged" house.

    As many as 28 children live in the bunker, which sometimes loses water and electricity, said Ira Batura, a homemaker.

    "We were told there is no truce anymore, that it was completely broken. We are simply sitting here, scared, without knowing what is going to happen next," she said.

    While Kyiv and western governments say Russia is fueling the conflict, Batura holds Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko responsible. She questioned whether residents ever can trust authorities in Kyiv.  

    "What kind of trust can it be? What kind of state? It has been broken. There is no state any more," Batura said. "I doubt someone will put it back together.  And, how can they put it together if people are already cursing him?"

    But Batura said she and like-minded residents are not against being part of Ukraine as long as there is a lasting, political solution.

    "If they do it in a peaceful way and stop the firing and the war," she said, "then people will accept this."

    Another view

    In the city of Kramatorsk, construction worker Denis Sakhno said it’s obvious who has been doing the fighting.

    "I saw a couple Russians [troops] here when it all began," he said.  "They were drunk and trying to buy liquor with rubles." 

    Sakhno, whose mother is Russian, supported the Russia-backed rebels – until he saw how their forces were behaving. But by then, he’d split with his wife, Lyudmila, an ethnic Ukrainian, partly because of their difference of opinion. 

    Since then, Sakhno has become a vocal supporter of a united Ukraine. Ukrainian troops pushed the Russia-backed rebels out of Kramatorsk and the city is now back under government control. 

    While life goes on, there are no immediate prospects for peace.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Dot from: Germany
    June 09, 2015 2:55 AM
    We must punish Russia and Putin for their behavior in Ukraine!!!!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora