Conflicts & War

Ukraine’s older generation: ‘I grew up in a war and will die in another’

By Luis Lidon

Pokrovsk, Ukraine, Jul 3 (EFE).- Dozens of people, including many senior citizens, escape war-ravaged Donbas daily through Pokrovsk, the only remaining railway exit route for the inhabitants of Ukraine’s eastern region.

Among those arriving at the exit point in an ambulance is Anhelina Olexandrivna, an 86-year-old woman managing the situation with humor and a smile.

“If I had known that they would take photos of me, I would have put on makeup for the occasion,” she says after spotting a camera.

Olexandrivna is fleeing the continuous bombardment and intense fighting in Avdiivka, a town in Donetsk oblast.

“I thought that things were going to get better but they are only getting worse, every day there are wounded, burned houses, shots and bombings,” she explains to Efe.

Olexandrivna took some clothes in a plastic bag, her cane and some medicines with her, leaving behind memories of her in a house that she had lived in for 40 years.

“I am traveling alone because all my relatives have died. I am alone in the world and I don’t really know what will happen in the future,” she adds.

Olexandrivna is heading toward the central city of Dnipro, which has so far escaped the worst of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The terrifying booms, as well as the water, gas and electricity outages, were the reasons why Olexandrivna has chosen to leave Avdiivka.

“I couldn’t take it anymore,” she says.

She points out that she took the advice of an NGO volunteer who asked her to leave because the roof of her house would not withstand the sound of nearby explosions.

“We have no choice but to leave. Our tears cannot help us. Neither can our struggle. So we just have to leave.

“I’m not interested in how it came to war, but I know one thing: I grew up during a great war, World War II, and it seems that I will die in the middle of another, and nobody deserves to live like that.”

The battle in Donbas has become the deadliest in the war in Ukraine, making it difficult for civilians caught up in the fighting.

Although the authorities urged people to evacuate their homes near the fighting, some people decided to stay.

Russian forces have made slow but steady progress, claiming to have seized Lysychansk, the last major Ukrainian-controlled city in Luhansk.

Lysychansk would give Russia complete control of Luhansk and facilitate its launching of offensives against Ukrainian-held cities in Donetsk, such as Sloviansk, Kramatorsk and Bakhmut.

Olexandr from Save Ukraine NGO is one of the volunteers who drove Olexandrivna to the Pokrovsk station platform.

During the day, he drives around the region offering assistance, delivering medicine and checking up on the most vulnerable people, whom he tries to convince to leave.

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