Thursday Dec 8, 2022
Thursday Dec 8, 2022

In pics: A Ukrainian village awaits next move

2022 Jan 29, 17:58, Kyiv

In the Ukrainian village of Zolote, Olga Berezhna cradles one of the rabbits she raises, feeds her chickens and gets an eager greeting from her shaggy dog when she walks into the yard of her house. But this is not placid rural life — it’s a grinding wait to see if there will be war.

At 59, Berezhna is the youngest of the 16 people left in the village. The others are mostly in their 80s; all the younger people long ago fled the village that’s near territory occupied by Russia-backed rebels.

Those who remain in the area look aged far beyond their years — soldiers on duty in snowy trenches and sandbag-lined positions.

Ukrainian forces and separatist rebels began fighting in 2014, a war that has killed more than 14,000 people. Although the fighting has diminished significantly in recent years, fears are strong that it could resume and become even bloodier since Russia began massing troops near Ukraine’s border.

Russia says it has no intent of invading, but many in the West believe that an offensive is imminent.

The next clue about what happens next is likely to come when Russian President Vladimir Putin decides how to respond to the rejection by the United States and NATO of Moscow’s demand that Ukraine be permanently denied membership in the military alliance.

In the meantime, Berezhna and the soldiers wait.


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