Chermalyk: Whenever it gets dark…

In Ukraine shootings are happening on a daily basis — visit of a village on the front line

The town sign of Chermalyk. Photos: Niklas Golitschek

Loud ceasefire

Technically, a ceasefire agreement is in effect, although it barely deserves its name. The monitoring mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) meticulously documents what is happening on the ground: Sometimes it counts 100, sometimes 250 violations of this ceasefire in the Donetsk area — per day[2]. A vast part of it around Chermalyk. Both sides are shooting.

In the background the river can be seen — it marks the border.

“You should come in the evening. Then you would see all the shootings,” says Valeria Zhukova.

The 20-year-old and her friend Tanja Kaystra, 18 years old, both young mothers, are originally from Chermalyk.

Still civil victims

These terrible times may have passed, but the inhabitants of the village are not safe yet. Just at the end of June, a woman was brought to hospital. The OSCE reported, that she was just standing near her entrance door “when she heard a loud noise and immediately felt pain and saw blood streaming down from her left collarbone”[5]. Per request in May, an OSCE spokesperson confirmed 758 civil casualties since January 2017 on both sides of the contact line, 136 dead, 622 injured.

Tanja Kaystra and Valeria Khukokva with their children.

“Earlier everyone in Mariupol was scared, now we ignore it,” she responds.

She liked the city even more now. Some of her friends also moved to Kyiv, but they did for career perspectives and not because of the fights. She saw opportunities in Mariupol to develop and have a good life.

Everyday with the war next door

Also the university of Mariupol has returned to normal life. Around 20 students of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and around 100 from the grey zone are studying there, according to professor Alexander Cheiliakh, vice rector for science and pedagogy at the university; alongside some 6000 others at the university and are accommodated in dormitories. These numbers have been stable now for several years.

Professor Alexander Cheiliakh.

Freiberuflicher Journalist | Freelance Journalist: Interessiert an Soziopolitik, Digitalem und Sport | Interested in sociopolitics, digital and sports.

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