Kramatorsk, which is located in the Donetsk region, was occupied by the Russian army in 2014 for almost 3 months. Since October of 2014 the city has been the provisional seat of Donetsk region however after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine it is regularly hitted by shelling and now the front line is just 45 kilometers away. As a result, the lives of citizens of Kramatorsk have been changed significantly. There are a lot of people who still live there and do not want to leave.
Kseniia has not left Kramatorsk since February 2022, works here and does not intend to flee in any case except for a Russian occupation. Her story is similar to many other Ukrainians in the same situation.
Kramatorsk was constantly developing and becoming more comfortable to live in. “I was living a normal life, nothing is left from it”, says Kseniia. The first 6 months were the hardest: complete confusion and fear, “I love to listen to music with my headphones. But I didn’t listen to the music all this time, because I was afraid that I would not hear the missile”.
Now regular shelling, massive attacks and sounds of launched rockets somewhere “far away” are part of life. So if the sound that they hear does not feel nearby – they do not react to that. “I work in the bank and during work time I am obliged to be in the shelter. So we also encourage people not to wait outside and come there. But nobody listens, and sometimes there are queues of 20-30 people staying in front of the building. If there will be a missile attack on a bank branch it will be a huge tragedy”, claims Kseniia.
Between air alarms which are accompanied by indifference, people are working and trying to live, – “I try to feel normal and go to the cafe or walk around the city but a lot of buildings are damaged and it is no more possible to do the things you have dreamt of in the past”. But still everybody is expecting the worst to happen and you can feel the tension in the air.
On the 27th of June an attack was made on the restaurant called “Ria”, – “The whole city begins to buzz like a swarm of bees”. It is hard not to notice that something bad has happened. As a result of this exact attack 12 people died, according to the State Emergency Service of Ukraine.
“The local government fixes roads, roofs, windows and other basic necessities really quickly. However, they do not rush with reconstruction of non-residential buildings as they are afraid of another attack“, shares Kseniia.
“I miss safety, lights on the streets and mostly when the city is alive. When somebody is playing the guitar outside and you hear the laugh from the street, when there are a lot of people and they live around you.”
Despite the initial fear of Kramatorsk’s possible occupation and tiredness from expecting bad things she still states, “I believe in the victory of Ukraine and I know it will happen”.