Donbass : Zelensky reassures citizens – “there will be no war.” But in Kiev, Mayor Klitschko tells the townspeople about the “biggest bomb shelter” – the metro, in Zhytomyr, doctors from polyclinics are taken to military registration and enlistment offices. And only on the southern outskirts of Donbass, it can be alarming, but quiet – people are not seriously preparing for a big war, the shooter indicating “where the bomb shelter is” is not being updated, and in general they are looking at the situation with healthy fatalism – somehow it will be …
“You see, I live and work in Mariupol, and my two daughters with their grandchildren and husbands have been living in St. Petersburg for a long time, and I get to them every time through Istanbul. All this has already happened between Russia and Ukraine, if it comes to a big war, they can cut me off from my daughters altogether. Buying canned food for the future will not fix this matter, ”an elderly engineer Valery from Mariupol tells MK.
“People bought cereals in 2014, but now they don’t – grandmother will watch the news, talk about it and that’s it – go to sleep. I don’t think about it at all!” – tells MK a young barista Liana in a “craft” coffee shop right on the platform of the Mariupol station. Since 2014, this station has been surrounded by a dense high fence with a couple of passages – this made it more convenient for patrols to check people from trains, but now there are no checks at the station.
And in Mariupol itself, there have been no checkpoints for a long time, only at the entrances and exits from the city – as soon as the abbreviation ATO (Anti-Terrorist Operation) changed to OOS (Joint Forces Operation) and the reins of control were transferred from the SBU to the army, checkpoints and checks were generally greatly reduced.
And now the local story about checkpoints has become very dependent on the big Ukrainian story – in the Dnieper, in the part of the National Guard, a fighter from a machine gun while on guard duty killed five people. Now all parts of the National Guard of Ukraine are being intensively checked, and it is its fighters who are basically standing at all checkpoints in Donbass. The observation of the last 24 hours is simple – people with weapons have become very polite, helpful and once again do not ask for documents.
And in front-line Volnovakha, everyone is discussing the “theft” of a cool set of police cameras on the highway leading to Donetsk – with the help of these cameras for fixing traffic violations, all local civilian reckless drivers have repeatedly received automatic fines. Apparently, they weren’t the only ones in trouble. Now knowledgeable people in Volnovakha say that the police do not investigate this “theft” very well – the camera, it turns out, was shot from a machine gun.
The military is an essential part of the life of the entire territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions controlled by Ukraine. Where they exist, there is life in all its manifestations – sweets are actively sold in rural shops and there is generally revenue, there are more customers in saunas, and service stations are busy repairing all kinds of jeeps.
“These American Hummers came to us from the heat, they are pouring now – they don’t have stoves, and some of them still fought in Kuwait,” the local elite auto mechanics lazily exchange phrases at a nearby table in a cafe in the Greek village of Sartana.
With the general tension from global news, local territorial defense exercises and other reports such as the arrival in Kiev of the fourth of the expected fifty American Boeings with weapons, in the south of Donbass it is unusually calm and quiet.
Quiet, first of all, because there are no extra people – all checkpoints are defiantly open from the Ukrainian side and, under the pretext of “covid” quarantine, are blocked from Donetsk. Here it must be understood that for more than a year the entire network of Ukrainian checkpoints has been a single utility company under the regional military-civilian administration. This means the presence of a staff of servants with a constant salary, from cleaners to watchmen, autonomous infrastructure and cafes of local entrepreneurs stuck in anticipation of people’s queues.
All this farm has been idle since March 2020. And many hundreds of interested people – taxi drivers, traders in the markets, pharmacists and other people who made money on the stream – are following the negotiations in Geneva with interest and hope. Well, what if?
It’s quiet here also because they don’t shoot – for the third day on the line of contact there was not a single wounded, artillery skirmishes after the news of the big war came to a standstill, but in recent weeks machine guns have also fallen silent.
Maybe in anticipation of a truce, or maybe because of the “non-flying” weather – there are wild snowfalls at a temperature of about zero. Frosts are replaced by short thaws, ice – snowstorms, it is wet and cold all the time in the trenches, and it has become difficult and seemingly pointless to get close to each other unnoticed and fight, it seems pointless – well, if a big war is coming soon, then why bother with a “small”?
The local civilians are firmly convinced that the war in their area is already in its eighth year and the reasons for the current great noise in the world should definitely not be sought in the Donbass. Their business is small – to live another day and earn a little more for this life …