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

    Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora