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You're reading: Western Ukraine’s Banderstadt shelters eastern Ukraine’s refugees
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Under
notices extolling Ukrainian statehood and self-determination are huge piles of
clothing, foodstuffs and children’s toys donated by locals. Volunteers offer
cups of tea to nervous, tired people, many straight off the train or bus from
destroyed towns and cities. Osvita has lent its building to house an aid centre
for the swelling number of Ukrainians fleeing first Russian annexation of
Crimea, and now the conflict in east Ukraine that has claimed well more than 1,000 civilian lives.

“Real war
was outside my city, but now it’s come into the city,” said Tanya, 28, who had
just arrived in Ivano-Frankivsk, located in Ukraine’s far west, from besieged
Luhansk in the east. She did not want to be identified, fearing retribution against relatives still in Luhansk. “All I can do now is pray.” 

Between March and August, at least 117,000 Ukrainians have been forced to flee their
homes for other areas of the country, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. Of
those, 102,600 are from the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, where
self-declared ‘people’s republics’ are fighting the Ukrainian army for more
independence from a “fascist” Kyiv or for union with Russia (it’s not clear
which).

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