There is supposed to be a ceasefire in Ukraine between government and rebel forces, but it means little in the battle-scarred town of Vuhlehirsk, where 8,000 inhabitants are stuck in no man’s land between the two sides. Grad rockets from nearby Ukrainian artillery positions on one side, and the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) on the other, regularly whistle overhead. The locals count each burst: one, two, three, four; and then go back to what has become their normal business – wondering how to survive the next few days or months or years without salaries or pensions, roofs or windows.
Stranded on the frontline of the war, in Ukrainian hands and cut off from the nearby administrative centre, DNR-controlled Yenakiyeve, the people have been abandoned in a town where nothing works and no one is in charge anymore.
“We are like an appendix that has been cut out and left to die,” said Ira Litvin. “Now we don’t belong to anyone.”
From my story in yesterday’s Times. The real picture is grimmer and more surreal than this piece -I didn’t have the word-space to describe it properly.