Ukraine: in Bakhmout, these inhabitants who persist in staying despite the violence of the fighting

Nicolas Tonev (special envoy in the Donbass), edited by Gauthier Delomez
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6:52 a.m., February 14, 2023

After six months of fighting and the last bombardments, several thousand inhabitants of the city of Bakhmout, in the Donbass, have decided to stay despite the danger. The special envoy of Europe 1 went to meet these indomitable Ukrainians, who survive under the incessant sound of gunfire.

They are still a few thousand to have stayed to live in Bakhmout, a strategic city of Donbass. Despite six long months of fighting and massive shelling in recent weeks, these residents, perhaps 10,000 out of a total of 70,000 in the eastern Ukrainian city, are surviving under shells and rockets in the desolate ruins. The special envoy of Europe 1 went to meet these Ukrainians, who refuse to leave their locality.

The place where the last inhabitants come to warm up.
Credits: Nicolas Tonev/Europe 1

Some have taken refuge in a place that must remain secret, a shelter where these inhabitants attached to the city of Bakhmout warm up. Two sisters persist in staying there, out of fatalism. “We do with what God gives us. You can’t escape war, it’s impossible to escape it”, proclaims the first of them at the microphone of Europe 1. The second agrees: “You can leave and it’ll bomb. It can shoot where you’re going, so where to run?”

“My car took rockets, so what?”

A kilometer further from this shelter is a fish and meat stall on a sidewalk, under the distant sound of gunfire from the armed forces. An enormously risky positioning for the trader, Lesia, behind her checkout. “When they bombed my stores, what can you say…”, she told the special correspondent for Europe 1, and said: “I have been doing business for 29 years. On February 2, the stores burned down, so I’m working here and I’m not leaving.”

WhatsApp Picture 2023-02-13 at 14.05.48

Lesia, obstinate shopkeeper to continue working in Bakhmout.

“What to be afraid of? My car took rockets, so what? We’re alive, aren’t we?”, adds the shopkeeper, continuing to practice her profession: “Do you want sausages?” “Ukraine is a paradise, and we love it,” she concludes. Lesia is so determined that even the Ukrainian military have given up reasoning with her.

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