Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ukraine Frontline Troops Dig Down With Pig Named Putin

Separated at Birth
This frontline Ukrainian village lacks gas, power and water.
Yet with barely a house left standing, Pisky remains a daily target of shelling, despite the latest truce with pro-Russian rebels, and Kiev's troops are digging down to survive.
Burnt out vehicles are strewn next to a destroyed 
building in Pisky village
Before the separatist conflict erupted in the east of the ex-Soviet country 14 months ago, Pisky was home to 2,000 people, many of whom worked in the coal mining centre of Donetsk just three kilometres (two miles) away.
But with Donetsk becoming the rebels' de facto capital last summer, Pisky became a strategic flashpoint that changed hands on repeated occasions.
A man looks at the damage caused by clashes between 
pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian militias earlier in the 
day in Pisky
It was an important supply centre for troops trying to control Donetsk's international airport, and became a prized outpost once the militants finally seized the hub in January.
Pisky's residents fled for safety, with only a handful of elderly people still somehow managing to survive amid the mangled metal and piles of rubble today.
Their new neighbours are Ukrainian soldiers, who spend much of their time underground. The troops like to remain inside a network of trenches facing southeast toward Donetsk, the well-armed rebels just 300 metres (yards) away.
"Man is an animal who can get used to living in conditions like this," said one soldier nicknamed Uncle Vova, short for Volodymyr.
- Watching Batman on TV -
Now 46, Uncle Vova lives with a dozen other soldiers in a two-storey house just behind the trenches.
They say the house was built by a businessman as his summer retreat. It was abandoned when the first booms of warfare echoed over Ukraine's once-thriving rust belt.
Traces of its original use as a summer residence are still evident. There is a small gym and a second outdoor kitchen in the garden. The soldiers spend their time in the basement, where they sleep, eat and while away the time.
The television still works, using a generator, as does an ancient video player. Tapes of Batman and Moby Dick are scattered nearby.
The soldiers say they prefer watching films to the news on TV.
That is hardly surprising, since the channels aired locally are only Russian or the one run by the rebels' self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic.
Troops take turns cooking on a gas cylinder. And to make life even remotely resemble the one before daily bloodshed, they have started gardening and planting vegetables. In a central courtyard, a small farmyard is sprouting up.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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