Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ukraine conflict: Daily reality of east's 'frozen war'

July 31, 2016 (BBC News Europe) War in eastern Ukraine is now routine for the people still living there, and there is little cause for optimism, despite a ceasefire and a strong desire for peace. Outbreaks of fighting between pro-Russian rebels and the Ukrainian army frequently violate the truce and lives are still being lost, two years after the conflict broke out.
The front line is just 800m from the school at Oleksandrivka, a village controlled by the pro-Russian self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" (DNR). Its soldiers are in trenches close-by, and not visible. On the school's main door is a chilling reminder of daily reality: a piece of white paper that reads: "Weapons banned inside." Head teacher Valentina Cherkas's booming voice offers a reassuring welcome to the children as they arrive. Image caption Head teacher Valentina Cherkas describes the situation as 'madness'.
Outside, by the playground, are blue flak-jacketed ceasefire monitors from the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE). "Madness" is the one word Valentina uses to sum up the war.
"You see I'm Ukrainian, and the Donbass (eastern regions of Ukraine) is my land. So it's like cutting me in half." And that is the reality. The very eastern fringe of Ukraine has been sliced in two. 
Read the whole article and see video at