Kramatorsk/Prague - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has announced a cease fire, but people living in the areas most affected by the fighting, such as Kramatorsk or Slavyansk, are not seeing much improvement. Those who have contacts in the Czech Republic want to move there.
Ella O. lives in Kramatorsk, a city that has seen fierce clashes over the control of the airport in the outskirts of the city, currently used by Ukrainian armed forces. The city center of Kramatorsk is controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
“On Tuesday I heard artillery fire again. Six more people were killed. Many homes have broken windows. We still have food in the city, but it is scary to go out. I would like to go to Prague and ask for asylum, but it is difficult for me to leave my mother who lives here and does not want to go anywhere. She keeps telling me that I can go, but it is difficult,” said Ella, who worked in Prague a few years ago.
“Many, many people have left. The situation is difficult. For example, a ban on displaying Ukrainian flags has been imposed. The people who fight for the separatists here include even Chechens,” she said.
Nearby Slavyansk is currently besieged by Ukrainian armed forces and most of the city is without water and electricity. Many people are hiding in basements or corridors of apartment buildings and try to stay away from windows.
“I have tried to call a friend several times, with no effect. Maybe he has no means to recharge his phone. I do not know whether he is alive or dead. You can leave or enter the city only by foot,” said Alexandr Tyshkevich, a Czech-born doctor from Donetsk. Tyshkevich is another Ukrainian who is trying to leave for the Czech Republic.
“I am afraid about my family, everything is getting worse all the time. Some banks no longer operate, even credit cards stop working. Electricity is a problem even in Donetsk. This week I went to a shopping center and suddenly, all the lights went out,” said Tyshkevich.
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