Thursday 25 August 2016

Residents Running Away From War in Eastern Ukraine


At a rebel checkpoint in war-torn eastern Ukraine, camouflaged gunmen on a deserted road hurriedly wave through cars with hand-written signs reading "children" taped to their windscreens.

Like the few other vehicles risking the journey, these cars are packed with fearful residents fleeing the latest fighting as the battle between the rebels and the Ukrainian army draws closer to the regional centre of Donetsk.

"Wherever the fighting is going on, they are fleeing. They bring out their relatives, their cars are full of kids. They are running away from the war," rebel soldier Maxim, 21, told AFP.

The former engineering student said those fleeing came from the towns in northeastern Ukraine currently experiencing the most deadly bombardments and shortages as government troops close in on pro-Russian rebels.

"Yesterday a bus drove past here from Shakhtarsk. It didn't have a single unbroken window left," chimed in his colleague from a makeshift gun nest, two Kalashnikovs by his side.

Those escaping the violence, which has already claimed over 1,100 lives, are mainly heading to cities on the Azov Sea in the south -- an area that is now under Ukrainian control, Maxim admitted.

"That's where the (Ukrainian) National Guard is, I don't know how they're not scared to go because it is calling up men from 18," he added.

The open-faced, deeply-tanned youth in a camouflage T-shirt and worn black trousers, said he had dropped out of his studies to join the rebels.

Moving in front of cars in the queue were a couple on a motorbike, heavily loaded with their belongings packed into check-patterned bags.

"They started firing over our house. It became impossible to live there," said the young man after he stopped at the checkpoint and took off his helmet to rest.

The couple, who would not give their names, said they lived near Shakhtarsk, a town which has seen heavy fighting in recent days.

Asked when there was last fighting in their neighbourhood, they replied, "This morning."

In the village of Orlovo-Ivanivka, around 10 kilometres (six miles) from the crash site of downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, women chatting outside the local grocery store were tearful as they recounted how they had sent away their children.

PLACES: RussiaUkraine
SECTION: International
OUTLOOK 02 August, 2014
© Copyright PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of any PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
Download the Outlook ​Magazines App. Six magazines, wherever you go! Play Store and App Store

Post a Comment

You are not logged in, please Log in or Register
  • Daily Mail

Finally, political parties came together to pass the Goods and Services Tax in the Rajya Sabha. The much-vaunted tax reform is said to have turned India into one common market. It is said that the GST will replace more than 15 state and federal taxes. So will GST lead to #AchcheDin?

POLL STARTED ON: Aug 04, 2016
Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro is hosting the 31st Olympic Games from August 5 to 21. This is the first Olympics being held in South America and is going on even as a majority Brazilians are unhappy with their rulers. Here’s a quiz on some random Olympic facts and related trivia.
QUIZ STARTED ON: Aug 11, 2016