SLOVIANSK-SEMENIVKA-MYKOLAYIVKA, Ukraine – Brand new windows and doors and the smell of fresh paint greeted Semenivka voters on Oct. 26 at a polling station inside a local school. Occupied by Kremlin-backed separatist proxies in May, the school, like most buildings in this Donetsk Oblast village just outside the district center of Sloviansk, was heavily damaged when Ukrainian forces won back control of the area in July.
Those comparing Russian aggression in east Ukraine with Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938–39 remark how, then as now, it is fatally hard to interfere in “a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing.”
Soldiers from western Ukraine retreated from the war front near Amvrosiivka in Donetsk Oblast on Aug. 23 while, back home in Ivano-Frankivsk, desperate wives and mothers blocked roads demanding the return of their men.
SLOVIANSK, Ukraine -- For 10 years, the rehabilitation center run by the Good News Church in Krasny Molochar in Sloviansk sheltered lost souls: people made homeless as a result of drug and alcohol addiction or other personal disasters, who wanted to build their lives again.
IVANO-FRANKIVSK, Ukraine -- It’s probably not deliberately ironic that refugees from predominantly Russian-speaking east Ukraine, arriving in Ivano-Frankivsk, are directed straight to the headquarters of Osvita, an organisation promoting Ukrainian language and culture.
Perhaps anyone trying to understand Russian internal and external policy-making should look at what has been happening this last week in Crimea. I’ve been trying to reconcile some different pieces of news related to the peninsula, and what I get is a window onto the graveyard of ideologies that is today’s Russia.
SIMFEROPOL, Crimea -- Working as a journalist in Crimea since March, at first I was told again and again by pro-Russians: “Tell the truth.”
The first casualties of war are human life and property, and the horrific destruction of both is happening daily in eastern Ukraine. But there are other casualties.
SARI-BASH, Crimea – The village of Sari-Bash, in Pervomaysk region, is a long way from Crimean tourist brochure images of lush mountains, white palaces and blue seas. Its identical Soviet-era houses sit amid endless hectares of flat, dry, wind-blown steppe. You can see for miles, but there is not much there except cows, sheep, thistles and vast swathes of scarlet poppies.
SIMFEROPOL, Crimea -- The entrance to the Simferopol Trade Union building, which stands opposite the Cabinet of Ministers on Lenin Square, has been obstructed daily by members of so-called Crimean self-defense militias since March.
SIMFEROPOL, Crimea – Eskender Bariyev has already clocked 400 kilometers this week in defense of his civil rights, and he will add another 400 on May 25. That’s two return journeys from the Crimean capital of Simferopol to the nearest polling station on mainland Ukraine, and the distance he is prepared to travel in order to vote for Ukraine’s next president.
ODESSA, Ukraine -- Ukraine will choose a new president in two weeks in an election considered crucial to the country’s future and even existence. But there is little sign of election fever in the southern port city of Odessa, Ukraine's third largest with more than one million people.
ODESSA, Ukraine -- "Death to fascism," say notices pinned on the walls. On a bench is a box of Molotov cocktails, a board studded with nails to puncture car tires, a stack of rifles. Beyond stands a target for shooting practice – the scrawled figure has a swastika where its heart should be.
ODESSA, Ukraine – In the bloodiest day in Ukraine since government snipers claimed more than 50 lives during the EuroMaidan Revolution on Feb. 20, 46 people were killed in Odessa on May 2. The violence started when an armed group of pro-Russian activists attacked a peaceful pro-Ukrainian rally, whose participants, uncharacteristically, fought back.
ODESSA, Ukraine -- Odessa, the Black Sea city of one million people noted for its seaside holidays and distinctive sense of humor, is deep in mourning this week as funerals take place for the 46 people killed in street fights and a fatal fire on May 2.
ODESSA, Ukraine -- Odessa took a dangerous step away from Ukrainian government control on May 4 as local police gave in to a mob and released 67 people they had been holding since the night of May 2, when a Russian-backed crowd sparked clashes that led to the deaths of more than 40 people -- most of them in a horrific fire.
DONETSK, Ukraine -- As southeast Ukraine descends further into violence and anarchy, Donetsk Oblast is swirling with frightening rumours apparently intended to keep the population in a state of panic and rage.
HORLIVKA, Ukraine -- Harassed Dmitry Chas doesn’t know what day it is, or exactly how long he’s been in round-the-clock charge of the Dynamo roadblock outside Horlivka, a city of 250,000 people north of Donetsk.