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Ukrainer kehren nach russischem Rückzug mutig in ehemaliges Dorf an der Front zurück

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After Russian forces invaded in the middle of last year, Posad-Pokrovske’s villagers fled, joining their compatriots in a mass westward exodus from the southern Ukrainian province Kherson.

Since the recapture of the province capital and the surrounding territory by Ukraine’s army, the soldiers have slowly returned to their homes, which were either destroyed or reduced to rubble from Russian shells. They are now set in a landscape with shattered trees and downed telephone poles as well as spent munitions.

“Some people come and repair their house, then they leave.” Liudmyla Hupalo, a 31-year-old returningee, said that those who still have something to save will save it.

Ende Februar und Anfang März übernahmen russische Streitkräfte die Kontrolle über die Stadt Cherson und ihre Umgebung. Posad-Pokrovske, das vor dem Krieg mehr als 3,000 Einwohner hatte, landete an der Frontlinie des Krieges.

Hupalo schätzt, dass bisher 170 bis 180 Menschen zurückgekehrt sind.

She said that “the ones who have nothing to save or have no place to stay, they don’t come back”.

“My parents’ house has been completely destroyed. Although there is some roof that is visible above my house it is still quite scary.”

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Vasyk Oliinyk, ein ortsansässiger Bauer, zündete eine der Lieferungen von Holzöfen an, die herbeigebracht wurden, um den Dorfbewohnern bei der bitteren Kälte zu helfen.

Später erinnerte er sich, neben den verkohlten Überresten seines Traktors stehend, den er während der Besetzung in die Luft gesprengt hatte.

“They (the Russians), shot it with cluster munitions… I don’t know what to do or where to start. Everything is gone, as you can see. It’s hard to imagine how you would manage land without any equipment.”

Oksana’s stove is progress of some sort for him, but a return to normality is still a distant possibility.

It could be used to make porridge and other food. She said that one could heat water on it but that there isn’t water.

Liudmyla’s father Oleksandr inspects the uninhabitable ruin of his property.

“The girls used put make-up on here. He said that the wife loved to sit in her bedroom. People used to say that we had a small house. We were happy with it.”

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