Lysytchansk is a concentration of war: destruction is everywhere you look, with ruins, wrecked cars, shell impacts. And then there is the destitution of its inhabitants, terrified by mortar fire. These are two key cities, at the center of the Battle of Donbass, in eastern Ukraine. For several weeks, the neighboring towns of Severodonetsk and Lyssytchansk have been bearing the brunt of Russian firepower.
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After more than three months of war in Ukraine, today the two cities are largely destroyed, civilians are regularly affected. Three civilians were thus killed, Thursday, June 16, in Lyssytchansk, in a missile strike. “Shots like this… I’m afraid of these shots. I can’t speak, I’m exhausted, even to walk“, confides Tamara, who drags herself to the side of the road.
In full sun, in this dusty street, another woman walks with difficulty. Tired, Nina saw two shells falling in her yard recently.
“You can see it. There are explosions everywhere. Everyone who wanted to leave is gone, but we have nowhere to go…”
An old lady, still on the edge of this road, outbids: “No water, gas or electricity. Here it is fend for yourself! We don’t live, we survive! Excuse me, I have to go…“As she leaves, she passes two young women, who are crossing with cans in hand.”When we go to fetch water, we see on this road the shots pass over our heads. We’re scared, but what can we do without water…“, sighs Dacha, who quickens the pace, when others walk automatically, as if anesthetized by the war.
“Where does it pull from? Who are we shooting? We don’t even try to find out anymore. We are survivors. We have already passed the stage of concern. We don’t even react anymore when the shells fly and fall. We got used to“says Boris, a young man who has stayed to take care of his loved ones. And as we drive through the disfigured city, frightening scenes follow one another. Like this old man pulling a trailer full of pieces of wood: “It’s all I have left. It’s my broken bed. I will fix it“.
We then pass an old man on a bicycle. He screams : “Ukraine gives us nothing at all!“Here, in this torn Donbass, part of the population is pro-Russian and among the inhabitants who have remained, some like Tatiana hope for the defeat of Ukraine:”I want peace to settle. Everything else, I don’t care. Here, everyone knows the outcome of the war. But yet the Ukrainians are stubborn to fight. If we ceded the city, we could still save something here…“As the artillery fire approaches, on the outskirts of the city, Ukrainian soldiers are resting in the shade of a tree. They have been fighting here for more than a month.