Life in the Hotspot. Two Truths About Sloviansk

Sloviansk is not only the hottest spot in Ukraine, but in Europe today. We have talked to the local citizens who told us about the events in this city and its suburbs.
Both of our informants are called Oksana, they evaluate what is happening in their mother city differently, but they do agree on one thing – Sloviansk is weary of war and all the people are waiting for it to end. 

“The locals are taking up saws and cutting down trees to protect their homes”

According to one of the women, the people here are tired of bombings, as, from her words, they are dropping bombs day and night. The woman is sure that this is done by the National Guard. According to her, there are already 10 ruined houses in the city. “A woman went to her daughter’s for the night. She came back and her house had been destroyed,” told Oksana.

According to her, everyone who had the possibility to leave the city had done so. “Everyday goods shops are closing, it is more or less all right with the food. But there were interruptions with dairy. The people are tired of living like this: the children don’t have an opportunity to go to school and they will have no graduation. Practically all production facilities have been stopped,” says the resident of Sloviansk. 

Oksana says that Sloviansk awaits new advances of the National Guard. “The locals are taking up saws and cutting down trees to protect their homes,” she says.

According to Oksana, the soldiers of the so-called people’s self-defence are scarce in the city. There are two-three people at the roadblocks. The woman has no information whether they shoot at the Ukrainian army locations. However, one of the locals told her that they were shooting from the rooftops of apartment blocks.

Between May 5th and 16th of 2014, the church “Dobraya Vest” helped more than 200 people to leave the city.

Our interlocutor noted that the Ukrainian army is also shooting at the roadblocks in Semenivka, from Karachun and from the side of Kramatorsk, the road to Sloviansk has been blocked by the National Guard. She says that there are many soldiers.

Children’s shelter “Parusa Nadezhdi” after the shooting on May 19th, 2014

There are also rumors in the city that Right Sector is fighting with the Ukrainian soldiers in the outskirts, and nobody is retrieving the bodies. But Oksana has not seen this with her own eyes – she is citing her associates.

When talking about the peoples’ moods, the Oksana says that a big number of people are not satisfied with the government in Kyiv, many have attended the referendum on May 11th. “Even regardless of the fact that they promised to bomb us,” she says.

Oksana also says that the local citizens are giving food and water to both the local self-defence soldiers and the Ukrainian soldiers, which are sitting hungry here.

Oksana says that she cannot leave the city because of her family. But it is frightening to live here, for her. For example, she cannot even think of going out into the courtyard in the evening.

“The terrorists have gone completely crazy. They are shooting from mine launchers at the private sector”

The conversation with our second informant was interrupted by another shooting.
“The are shooting strongly! I’ll go see from which side!” she says. According to her, before this it had been quiet in the city.

“And yesterday it was a bit scary. The terrorists have gone completely crazy. They are shooting from mine launchers at the private sector. The National Guard of Ukraine is still outside the city. And these idiots are bombing with mine launchers. Just like monkeys with grenades. I think they are in agony now. Blaming everything on the army. They say it’s their fault,” says Oksana.

The woman says that she went to the local market:

“The market is open. The food shops are open. The children are in school. People are walking around the city as if nothing is happening. A plane flew by. Nobody even noticed it. When there was strong shooting from mine launchers (the terrorists shot randomly), the people didn’t even hide. Missiles or mines flew over my house several times. They touched the gas pipe on the house. The metallic cover was blow off. I went to the market for pain. Something has to be done, or one will go crazy. The guys with rifles are walking around the market. They also evoke no emotions. Some sort of all-reaching impartiality,” she said.

Oksana says that there has never been any Right Sector here. And the terrorists tried to attack the Ukrainian bases at night, and so they were chased out.

“The gunmen-terrorists are shooting from living blocks at our soldiers. Those cannot respond. We have Kadirov’s people on the roads. But I don’t understand their struggle. I think it’s over for them,” shared Oksana.


Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina, edited by Alya Shandra

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