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Surviving is a matter of luck in eastern Ukraine

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A soldier uninjured from the impact of rocket shrapnel against his truck or an old woman who was saved by a wall from the explosion in her house while she slept. These are two graphic examples that, in the east of Ukrainesurvival is usually a matter of luck.

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Eastern Donbas has become the epicenter of fighting in the country since Russian troops withdrew from the kyiv region in late March after failing to take the Ukrainian capital.

In the Donbas basin, the confrontation actually began in 2014, when pro-Russian separatists supported militarily and financially by the Kremlin seized part of the two regions that make it up, Donetsk and Lugansk, including their capitals.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion on February 24, Moscow’s troops and their separatist supporters have gained ground, but the resistance of the Ukrainian soldiers, hardened by eight years of conflict and battles in Donbas, is tenacious.

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Both sides are entrenched, with the daily fighting reduced more and more to an artillery war, in which the weapons used, particularly the old Soviet artillery systems, are inaccurate to say the least.

“We sit in the trenches, the enemy shells us and we can’t even get our heads out,” says Bogdan, a 26-year-old Ukrainian soldier, sitting in his truck in Bakhmut, a city against which the Russian army is currently concentrating its offensive.

“There are no more shootings like before. Today is an artillery battle. So you jump in your trench and wait for the hit, ”she specifies.

Not long ago, a fragment from a rocket that had just exploded pierced the cockpit of Bogdan’s 4×4. The young soldier’s hand is still shaking. In the back of the vehicle, he brandishes the piece of metal that nearly kills him before disdainfully tossing it to the ground.

“Miracle Survive”

Kostiantinivka, a large industrial city further north and theoretically far from the front line, was shelled a week ago.

Seven people were injured, according to the regional military administration, and a four-story building was destroyed in the blast.

From a window, a man lowers a sewing machine with the help of a rope. And it is that the inhabitants try to recover what they can.

At the top of the dusty staircase littered with debris and twisted metal, 82-year-old Yevgenia Yefimenko explains that she was dozing when the two explosions rang out.

One destroyed his neighbor’s apartment, stopping his alarm clock at the time of the explosion: 00:24.

“There had already been explosions but very far away, so I had gotten used to it,” he explains with tears in his eyes.

The ones that destroyed the building “threw me in there,” she says, pointing to the section of wall that saved her: “I don’t know how I landed there, I don’t know.”

Now homeless, the retiree thinks more about the fate that awaits her than about her luck: “I have no one, I’m alone, alone,” she says, unable to contain her tears.

In Soledar, a small town on the road to Bakhmut that is heavily shelled, soldier Oleg Yashchuk almost nonchalantly recounts his own miracle.

“I was coming back from the front and had 3 or 4 days off, so we went to relax at the lake: barbecue, beer, good company,” he begins.

“Suddenly a tank started shooting at us. He threw into the water, where there were many soldiers. We miraculously survived, all the shrapnel got trapped in the water, that’s why we’re still alive”, he smiles.

In the distance, the sounds of new bombardments resound; others will not have the same luck.

Source: Gestion

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