Fault Lines

Eastern Ukraine: Enduring the suffering of war

A look at the lives of civilians suffering on either side of the conflict and what the future holds for them.

The conflict in Eastern Ukraine has now been raging for over three years. The UN says the fighting between pro-Russia separatists and the Ukrainian military has killed nearly 10,000 people.

We are not needed in Ukraine. We are not needed in Russia.

by Yelena Zenushkina, clinical psychologist displaced by the conflict

The separatists control a large area close to the Russian border. From the town of Novokivka in the north to the contested town of Shyrokyne in the south.

In February 2015, both sides signed an internationally brokered agreement aimed at finding a political solution.

But repeated ceasefire attempts have failed. The fighting maybe less intense now, but the shelling continues most days. Both sides blame each other for starting a recent escalation in violence. 

But this isn’t a story about politics or the European-Russian rivalry. This is a story about some of the people who have to endure the suffering of war on both sides of the front line.

“I am a reasonable thinking person. I have a university education,” says Yelena Zenushkina, a clinical psychologist who left the front-line city of Donetsk looking for work in hot spot Avdiivka. “You think I don’t understand that at any moment a shell could land here? Of course, I understand, but there’s nowhere to go.”