Azerbaijan news

Those who fled Luhansk speak

Separatist leaders have claimed that government forces will soon launch a major offensive without providing evidence. Kiev says it has no such plan

RFE / RL reports that those fleeing separatist-held territory in eastern Ukraine have spoken out. Natalya, 28, was hiding in a basement eight years ago when the war broke out.

“Now the situation is different, I am afraid for my children.” – 3 and a half year old son and A woman who moved with her 5-and-a-half-year-old daughter from Luhansk, a Russian-backed separatist-held area controlled by the Ukrainian government, speaks. “We are leaving forever,” he said.

Russia’s deployment of more than 130,000 troops near the border with Ukraine has raised fears that the war in the Donbas region could escalate.

Stanitsya Luhansk has been a tightly guarded checkpoint for years. This place is a nuisance for both the residents of the separatist-held city of Luhansk and the government, and you have to show that you have crossed the international border.

Mobilization has been announced

Russia Presidents Vladimir Putinagainst the background of allegations that the Ukrainian government committed “genocide” in the Donbas and Separatist leaders in Donetsk announced a mass evacuation of the population to Russia on February 18. They then mobilized men aged 18-45 to ban men of this age from leaving the area.

Separatist leaders have claimed that government forces will soon launch a major offensive without providing evidence. Kiev says it has no such plan. Western officials called Moscow and accuses separatists of planning an excuse for Russia’s new invasion of Ukraine.

RFE / RL correspondent February 20observed a steady flow of people at the checkpoint for several hours. They do not listen to evacuation calls and remain in Ukraine, leaving their homes, mainly because of the escalating violence in Luhansk. Some say they left forever.

“We are not wanted in Kiev Moscow

“It simply came to our notice then. Everyone is scared. No one knows what will happen. If you were, what would you be in such a situation? ” – boys -12 years old Danil and 6 years old Artyomla shaurma eating accountant Anya he says.

According to Anya according to, agronomist and her husband did not want to leave their apartment in Lugansk. Although they are not high, they are still paid. But on February 19, the situation changed. Lugansk and In Donetsk, the separatist authorities banned the performance of 18-45-year-olds, and a general mobilization was announced. Schools have been closed since February 21. But Anya schools COVID-19 according to says he has already taken mostly distance lessons.

So the family decides to send the boys to their parents in the government-controlled village of Bilokurakine, 150 km away. The woman will keep in touch with the children by video, hoping to see them when they are allowed to cross the area again for a month. “When this hell is over,” He says.

The woman was in the area where they lived two days ago 10says there were more explosions. But it is impossible to say which side the voices came from and who is to blame. Only he says it that, They think that the world has forgotten the conflict, that people still live in the area.

“We are not wanted in Kiev Moscow. I’m glad that, They read about us in Europe, in the United States, somewhere “– he said.

Number of migrants

Lugansk after evacuation order and It is unknown how many people left Donetsk. Russia Media reports, citing separatist leaders, say tens of thousands of people have fled to Russia’s Rostov region.

Russia’s state news agency TASS reports that about 34,000 people have crossed from Luhansk to Rostov. It is unknown how many people crossed into the territory controlled by the Ukrainian government.

“It simply came to our notice then. People are afraid of what will happen. Soldiers are everywhere. They are constantly firing. ” – A 27-year-old man who came with his 3-year-old daughter to visit his parents in the town of Stakhanov, southwest of Lugansk Tanya he says. He does not know which side opened fire.

“Panic is absolutely panic,” – Leaving Luhansk with his 8-year-old grandson Tatiana he says. It goes from Luhansk to Rubijney in the north.

“Why did we decide to leave?” Because they decided to mobilize men according to”, He says.

A dying city

The city of Novolugansk, located on the government-controlled front line, came under artillery fire during a February 19 visit by the country’s interior minister. This is not the main complaint of the city residents interviewed by the radio correspondent Russia not related to the threat of new occupation of forces. They say the city is dying, even dying: people are moving, schools are closing, and a tenth of the students are left over from a few years ago.

“Why do I have to move? I have three apartments here. My mother and grandmother live here. And where did I go? I have lived here all my life. This is my home. It is my city ” – says 26-year-old Sergei Krainov. His 6-year-old son Jenya is playing on a rusty playground.

“Yes, in recent days, shootings and artillery fire have intensified; We haven’t heard such voices for a long time. “ He says.

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