With thousands now dead, Ukraine

refugees say aid is welcome but peace is
People who have fed fghting in eastern Ukraine fnd temporary accommodations at a
summer camp for children in the Stavropol region of southern Russia !"duard
&y 'ichael &irnbaum (ugust )) at *+,, ('
SHCHASTYA, Ukraine – Zhanna Sologub doesn’t know if the rocket that struck the
courtyard of her house this onth was fired by !ro"#ussian rebels or Ukrainian
go$ernent forces%
&hat she does know, she says, is that the biggest huanitarian gesture either side
could ake right now is to sto! the fighting%
Aid intensifying battles 'riday for control of key cities in eastern Ukraine, Ukraine
and #ussia are clashing o$er the deli$ery of food, edicine and other su!!lies to areas
hit by the conflict% (ut aid, soe residents say, is not as critical as !eace%
“)eo!le are able to sur$i$e e$en without electricity and water,* Sologub said as she lay
bandaged in a hos!ital in this go$ernent"held $illage eight iles fro +uhansk, a
Ukrainian city close to the #ussian border that has seen soe of the worst cobat of
the four"onth conflict% ,(ut you can’t !re!are yourself for bobing%*
+uhansk has been without electricity or water for -. days, city officials say% (ut
Sologub and her husband were deterined to tough it out in the house they built there
with their own hands% The rocket attack fractured one of Sologub’s legs and se$erely
wounded a foot% Her husband suffered a s!inal in/ury%
The first trucks in a #ussian aid con$oy crossed into eastern Ukraine on 'riday after
ore than a week0s delay aid sus!icions the ission was being used as a co$er for an
in$asion by 1oscow% 2A)3
The fighting is fueling a growing refugee !roble as +uhansk, a city of 4-5,... !eo!le
before the conflict, e!ties out and as residents of 6onetsk, about 7. iles to the
southwest, flee the hostilities there% The United 8ations estiates that at least 97.,...
residents of eastern Ukraine ha$e fled to other !arts of the country, and it said 97:,...
ha$e taken flight to #ussia, based on figures !ro$ided by the #ussian go$ernent% An
additional -;,... are belie$ed to ha$e taken refuge in other countries%
1ore than -,... !eo!le ha$e died since fighting started in A!ril, the United 8ations
says% 1any of the casualties ha$e occurred in recent weeks as the Ukrainian ilitary,
!ushing into dense urban centers, tried to deal a final blow to rebels who ha$e been
forced to surrender uch of the territory they once held%
“&e were ho!ing it wouldn’t end this way,* said <ryna =erygina, the !ro">ie$ acting
go$ernor of the +uhansk region%
Ukrainian )resident )etro )oroshenko and #ussian )resident =ladiir )utin !lan to
eet in 1insk, (elarus, on Tuesday, along with their 'rench and ?eran
counter!arts, in what would be their first face"to"face discussions since early @une%
Ahead of the eeting A which soe officials in >ie$ ho!e will be a first ste! toward a
negotiated end to the conflict A Ukrainian forces a!!ear to be trying to ad$ance as far
as they can to i!ro$e their bargaining !osition% The ci$ilian death toll has surged in
recent days, reflecting the intensified fighting%
At the crubling red"brick hos!ital in Shchastya, whose nae eans ,ha!!iness* in
Ukrainian, shelling and rocket attacks in recent days ha$e been so loud and so
constant that nurses soeties close the rickety windows to try to block out the noise%
6octors, ost of who are $olunteers fro elsewhere in Ukraine, say they are
recei$ing an adeBuate, if not bountiful, aount of edical su!!lies and other aid% (ut
they are short on eBui!ent, their C"ray achines are rudientary and the three
o!erating roos are easily o$erwheled on days such as one two weeks ago when 9D
in/ured !eo!le cae in%
E$en in +uhansk, doctors say, soe hos!itals continue to function, although the fuel
for their generators is running low after alost three weeks without electricity or water
fro unici!al utilities%
E$eryone is learning to li$e with uncertainty%
“&e’re within range of the rebels’ ?rad
systes,* said surgeon Anton 8osik,
referring to So$iet"era ulti!le"rocket
launchers that the two sides use to s!ray
rockets onto each other’s !ositions% ,(ut
we’re trying not to think about that%*
<n a refugee transit ca! in S$ato$e, a
go$ernent"held town in the +uhansk
region about 5. iles fro the fighting,
doFens of !eo!le fleeing the war arri$e e$ery
day% Although there are !eaceful swiing
holes in the laFy ri$er that !asses by the tent
city, the scars of war are $ery !resent% 1any
refugees were startled by the reseblance of
the ca!s’ showers to rocket launchers%
'ireworks for a wedding one recent e$ening
set ner$es on edge because they sounded
uch too uch like the $iolence that !eo!le
had /ust left behind%
The first thing the ca! offers new arri$als is a shot of cognac and a chance to talk to a
counselor, ca! adinistrator Sergey Yakukhin said%
After the cognac, he said, ,!eo!le sigh, and then they begin to talk%*
1any in the ca! said that they stayed in +uhansk as long as they could but that the
shelling si!ly becoe too intense% &hen food su!!lies ran low, they iGed flour with
a touch of water and baked unlea$ened bread, if they had a way to cook with fire%
Families swim in front of a transit refugee camp
in Svatove, Ukraine. (Michael Birnbaum/he
!ashington "ost#
Those !eo!le willing to endure long lines and the risk of shelling can still buy certain
food sta!les% (ut !rices ha$e nearly tri!led for cooking oil and Buintu!led for
“&e already know when it’s dangerous or not% <f you hear the whistle of a rocket, then
you know you need to lie on the floor or go in the baseent,* said 8adya )oselye$a, 5-,
who fled +uhansk a week ago and who was flying a tiny Ukrainian flag fro the corner
of her bed frae in the oli$e"green ilitary tent she is sharing with 97 other refugees%
All the refugees can tell of friends and faily who ha$e died or whose hoes ha$e been
destroyed% Hne of )oselye$a’s neighbors was killed% Another neighbor’s house was
destroyed by shelling% Another house went u! in flaes, she said%
)oselye$a was a rece!tionist at a uni$ersity doritory until the building was taken
o$er by rebels% She sto!!ed work about a onth ago because it was no longer safe to go
out, she said% After the Ukrainian 8ational ?uard warned that it could not guarantee
the safety of her house, she fled with clothes for three days, eG!ecting to be able to
return shortly% That tie still has not coe%
“&e !ray e$ery day that it will end soon,* )oselye$a said% ,&e0re waiting to go hoe%
&e don0t want to go anywhere else%*
'ichael &irnbaum is -he Post.s 'oscow bureau chief /e
previously served as the &erlin correspondent and an education
)osted by Tha$a

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