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You're reading: War Grinds On: US expatriate digs in at war front to shore up Dzerzhynsk’s defenses
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“I’m the only American here by a fairly large radius,” she laughs.

Fillmon has been involved in charity projects in Ukraine for 17 years. After Russia’s war against Ukraine began last year, she partially re-oriented her work towards helping the army in the contested eastern Donbas, where fighting began soon after Russia’s takeover of Crimea in February 2014. She is now one of the most prominent pro-Ukrainian volunteers and activists in the city with a pre-war population of 35,000 people.

Lately, she has been in charge of painting lampposts along the city’s main streets yellow and blue – the colors of Ukraine.

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