Ukrainians living on the eastern river bank in the Donbas town of Bakhmut were seen crossing a destroyed bridge to receive humanitarian aid on Thursday, Oct. 6 despite the constant sounds of explosions and gunfire.
The bridge was destroyed a few weeks ago in what the Ukrainian military says was a deliberate Russian military strike.
As Russian forces continue their advance from the east onto Bakhmut, the right river bank is now a no-man’s land over which neither military exercises full control.
Sixty-year-old Nina told Reuters that she did not want to leave the ‘grey zone’ as she still hadn’t buried her daughter who was killed in an open-pit mine.
“Where else should I go? My daughter died in an open-pit mine. A shell hit my house. I will not go anywhere. I haven’t buried her, she’s still lying there,” Nina said, breaking into tears.
After she had picked up two bags with food in Ukrainian-controlled Bakhmut city centre, she crossed a makeshift construction replacing the destroyed bridge to go back to her house.
Trolleybus driver Oleksandr, aged 54, expressed hope for a peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine. As he was talking, explosions could be heard nearby.
Kyiv says it will never agree to cede land taken by force, and lawful referendums cannot be held in occupied territory where many people have been killed or driven out.
After Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of four Ukrainian provinces last week, Kyiv said it was applying to join NATO, and would not negotiate with Russia as long as Putin is president.
By Reuters. (Production: Adbelaziz Boumzar, Felix Hoske)