Wearing a caramel fur hat pulled down over his ears and a ratty brown coat, Grandpa Sasha sinks his feet into the snow that covers the asphalt. He walks a quarter of a mile up the street, a quarter of a mile down the street, oblivious to the movement on the tree-lined avenue: a lady is carrying two jugs of water on her bicycle; in the corner, a couple carries a sack of humanitarian aid; next to a hive of apartments eaten to pieces and stained with ashes, another bicycle loaded to the brim. In the background, an explosion sounds. Other. And another one. Getting closer. Sasha continues with her walk. The detonations are the constant musical thread in Chasiv Yar. A gloomy music that does not leave the city, on the line of the Bakhmut battlefront where the bloodiest fighting is taking place in Donbas, in eastern Ukraine, and where the Ukrainian forces try to resist the thrust of the Russian Army with a very high cost. “Look what they are doing to us,” laments Sasha. Up and down. Up and down.
Hilltop Chasiv Yar has been under fire from Russian artillery for weeks. The city, in which 12,700 souls lived before the full-scale invasion and which has remained in the bones, is the last remaining gateway to Bakhmut. That door that is a constant coming and going of military vehicles. Almost kissing the undulating roof tiles of the low houses at the entrance to the city, two combat helicopters fly swiftly in the direction of the already symbolic fortress city. On the fluctuating hills, still covered with snow, there are fresh trenches. A new line of defense Ukraine.
By Maria R. Sahuquillo (Special envoy)
In the image, of MRS, Valia and Lubov in the shelter in the basement of their building, where they live, in Siversk.
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