Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

As we examined LPR capital in the past four parts, now we will go through the far outskirts of distant suburbs and immediate surroundings. There are also a quite traditional attractions like Slavyanoserbskaya manor in Aleksandrovskoe or memorial on the sharp tomb, there is an Aviation Museum under the open sky, that impresses not only with exhibits but with many signs of war on them, and there is finally a lot of traces of town abortive siege by Ukrainian army in the summer of 2014, whether it is a destroyed airport or abandoned positions near from the unattainable happiness. This post is quite grim – but it is the last about traces of the war in this series.

Let’s say thank you for this entire post to one man, whose name is not called, for obvious reasons, it is not necessary, so it is conventionally denoted “Michael”. Businessman with his family in the evacuation, he offered us a ride in the surrounding area of Lugansk in his car, and most of the waypoints were his initiative. In the morning we went to the Eastern quarters but took the course to the south-east, to Krasnodon and Izvarino through which a couple of days later, we had to leave the Donbass. On the outskirts of the city at the end of the Defense street (see. Last part) T-34 proudly stands there from 1971, and they say that, on May 9, he starts, moves down from the pedestal and goes to the city parade. In fact, almost all tanks are in operational condition, and in “reenactment” period of the present war militias even several times started them – but such machines were good just for the psychological attack because of the absence of any parts or ammunition. Also note that people are waiting for a minibus in the morning not to the city, but from the city – perhaps in Russia they want to withdraw money from their card and buy or sell something.

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

Over the tank there begins the path through the woods to the Sharp Tomb – a high hill (198m), that are actually called graves, a typical “strategic height”, that has not become LPR analogue of Saur-Tomb only because the war here was nearly reached. But in the Great Patriotic War the liberation of Voroshilovgrad began from a taken of sharp Tomb by the Red Army in February 1943, which was separated from the release of Stalino(Donetsk) by another six months. But the crucial role Sharp Tomb played in the year before the war – civil, when it became an outpost of the heaviest fighting of the proletarian Lugansk in the spring of 1919, which was the last stronghold in the Donbass of “Red”, with the White Army of General Denikin. The height and the city Denikin took then, but to this day the tradition is alive as Lugansk hard workers lined up a human chain from the ammunition plant to these heights, and passed Red Army ammunition. Now here it is a small, but very nice memorial – in this photo there is an obelisk and sculpture “The standard does not die”, both in 1965:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

However, pyramid is much more interesting, as it is known as the “eagle with a standart” – it was built among the monuments of the “first wave” in 1945, some of which (in Kerch and Sevastopol) appeared before the fall of Berlin, and have got downright constructivist expression.

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

A pot with budenovka on the way to the obelisk as far more reminiscent of the 1920s with their wildness ideas than breech 1960:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

Sights from Sharp Graves are really excellent, both for the tourist, and for the gunner. Giant gray waste slagheap impressed me in 2011 when we went from Donetsk to Lugansk on bus – it appeared in about half an hour before the bus caught up with it.

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

Lugansk as plain as the nose on your face, that resembles a city of the Urals and Siberia:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

More about Sharp Tomb we knew from simtour, let me quote from his post:
Fierce fighting took place around the perimeter of the city. The fighting, which is very indicative of the fact that it was just a civil war. The war, when the brother fights against brother and neighbor fights against neighbor. For example, there is an information that the trenches for both the warring sides were dug by Lugansk people. Someone volunteered, and someone did this under duress. Someone defending the city, and someone helping the attacking troops. Even mobilization to defense units of Lugansk, and to Denikin’s army waged sometimes from the same places. For example, the Red retreat – white gain recruits; Red beat off white on the old position – there is a record of volunteers in the Red Army troops. Again in a circle. Some particularly “lucky” people managed to make war on the one side, then on the other side a few times. These were the merciless reality of the Civil War. – It is written in February 2014, when up to a new civil war and the new “fighting around the perimeter of the city” were only a few months.
Not far from the Sharp Tomb –there is a huge cemetery with a quite spectacular gates, where we stopped by chance:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

… In the previous parts I have repeatedly wrote that LPR war evolved quite differently than in the DPR: Lugansk Republic was originally much smaller than Donetsk and had no serious support in the northern areas, which even in “That” Civil war were the stronghold of anarchists and nationalists, who were the guerrillas until 1931. And that’s where on June 14, 2014, when things of militias in general were good and the Strelkov firmly sat in Slavyansk, Ukrainian army occupied Lugansk satellite town of Schastie on the other bank of the Seversky Donets and tried to break through to Lugansk. From July 3 regular attacks to LNRovskoy capital began, in the 20 days of July, the APU took Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, and went to Lugansk to the south-west and on the south-east continued to hold periodically blocked by militias airport. Lugansk, in contrast with Donetsk, had a giant suburban system, the location of the center on the side that faces just towards Schastie, allowed to shoot the city like in the dash, and generally in August Ukrainian military virtually surrounded Lugansk. Then there was really scary – artillery and aircraft systematically destroyed the infrastructure of the city from the substations to the bread-baking plant, from early August and mid-September water and electricity lost in Lugansk, and in residential areas shells and mines fell daily and killed in the city hundreds of people.

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

Again, I will refer to memories Luhansk people (one, two, three), which are referred to more than once – they are very much piercing, and some of people who experienced it can be even met in the comments. The ring then practically isolated, the last battles were fought in the Chryachevatiy on the eastern outskirt of the city, and then I did not doubt that LDNR days are numbered. But then something changed in the course of the war, the Ukrainian army began suddenly to suffer defeat after defeat, and I think that we even resemble what the reason for this seems to be the most common… although do we understand a lot in war? Siege of Lugansk was removed by September 1, Ukrainian military retreated from the city for a few tens of kilometers, so the capital of LPR dropped out of “front-line” cities, another two weeks were spent on the rehabilitation of infrastructure, but to this day Lugansk is surrounded by gloomy ruins belt from all sides.

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

From Sharp Graves we went to Lugansk airport – as already mentioned, in contrast to the far more famous Donetsk airport (where I also went and stood there under the gun), it remained in the rear deeper than the town itself, and is protected right now only from looters, and even that without the slightest success. From Sharp Graves to it there is dozens of kilometers along the road leading to the village Peremozhnoe, cornering – a pointer on the photo above.

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

Founded in 1946, the Luhansk airport was no match Donetsk – in the beginning of 2014 it was owned by “UTair”, depart from here only two regular flights a day – to Kiev and Moscow, plus charters to resorts; “Lugansk Airlines” went bankrupt in the early 2000s. But as the Donetsk airport, Lugansk was renovated for Euro 2012 as a backup.

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

Ukrainian military defended here since the beginning of the war until the end of the summer campaign, much of June and half of July airport garrison held in the blockade, and on June 14 here was shot down an Il-76 transport aircraft by militias which was carrying 49 people – it was the largest loss Ukrainian army at that time of the, Kiev people nearly crushed the Russian embassy but the Foreign Secretary Deshitsa managed to turn a farce, singing along a known song “la-la-la-la” with the thugs, for what he was soon dismissed. But I remember how in the Greek-Catholic Church of Tallinn, near were lying plates “Odessa. May 2” and “Lugansk. June 14” but in further tragedies all people have lost the account. Ukrainians left the airport on September 1 and militia have seen the terminal like this:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

We went out to the airfield – in contrast to the Donetsk airport, where it serves as the front line, there it can be done smoothly:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

On the left – there is a funnel, and on the right someone dug up a pipe or cable:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

We have seen people swarming in the chaos in several places, and that is how symbolic a black crow landed:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

Traces on the concrete, leaving to the grass – perhaps that is a retreating Ukrainian army led by battalion “Aydar”:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

We have already seen Donetsk airport, we saw a myriad of ruins in Debaltsev and Uglegorsk, saw the ruins of the Saur-Tomb, buildings burned and blew up in Yasinovataya, Ilovaysk, Chaxterskiy, Snegniy … but even after all this, Lugansk airport left a feeling of unbearable horror. In a daze we wandered on the field for an hour, we were talking about something, but I do not remember those conversations.

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

All sorts of things wallow under foot, right up to Central Asia card, including Xinjiang:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

Soldier boots with charred soles, and most of all I do not like to think if a severed leg left in it…

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

The picture was completed by red tulips sprouting from the ruins like blood drops:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

From here we went back to the Sharp Tomb. This angle of Lugansk is actually air through, and if the Sharp Tomb and the beginning of the road to the airport lie just on the south of the Krasnodan route, that was located to the north of the former Higher Military Aviation Navigators School, there is a training airfield and aircraft repair plant there. There are mysterious structures – but really it is a stand for sweep of aircraft engines:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

Founded in 1830 VVAUSH closed in 1997, but Lugansk Aviation-Technical Museum remained there collected a year before the closure with machines, sent here for repair, which they weren’t destined to get. I heard that in 2014 Ukrainian pilots bombed it by mistake, taking it as the military airfield, and once I was in Lugansk I really wanted to check it.

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

And fortunately, these rumors were not that quite unfounded, but exaggerated – museum wasn’t purposefully bombed, but mine flew here on a regular basis, and so it seems intact, and works, but pretty shards whip. At the entrance to the hangar with aircraft engines and small holes in the glass:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

A sign at the entrance. I do not remember how much the ticket costs, but we were not the only visitors here.

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

In principle, I am pretty far from the aviation theme, and while the museum here is really big (50 machines) and interesting, I still looked not so much on the machine itself, as on the traces of war, especially since all the exhibits with photos are on the site. Something I really noticed – for example, AN-14, small-engine aircraft with a rapid take-off and landing, which was built as a replacement for ” kukuruzniks “, but was not so successful – only 340 cars were produced in the years 1965-72, the last were decommissioned in 2002, and kukuruzniks still fly in flocks.

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

Many machines have got trade colors. In the background, the plane turned into an attraction, and behind it there is a training Yak-38U with vertical takeoff and landing:

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IL-76 – this giant machine militias “dropped” in Lugansk airport, and theoretically even more people could die.

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

Near there is a small airplane, burned to the ground – it’s not an exhibit, but a private machine, probably flying from the small aircraft airfield. When it was bombed – it was standing here with full fuel tanks and therefore burned. But many other machines here are in the small dents or holes, especially MiG-29 “Ukrainian Falcons” from the title photo, which has a severed tail (on the same photo and the Soviet Tu-141).

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

But the most interesting thing here is that Su-25, is reputed to be valid, that is – the only aircraft in service of all unrecognized states of the former Soviet Union, according to some information, even once attacked a column of Ukrainian troops. In fact, only a little info is known about it: some say – that flew, others – that did not fly; if flew – than some say that was captured in the APU, and others – that recovered from a museum exhibit. Whatever it was, “Rooks” applied the main air strikes in this war, both in Lugansk administration or five-story building in the snow, and in LPR air war somehow was more active than in the DPR (I associate more tanks with this). Please note that there is a writing on the board “For Odessa!” – And I know that is not an empty phrase for militia:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

We went from here literally through the city to the western suburb of Lugansk, first we took not that way – we left the city through Sovetskaya street, and passed to the highway at Alchevsk:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

The ruins of the central concentrator (coal from nearby mines goes there to be cleared of impurity) in the village Jubileiniy (the Ukrainian legislation renamed as Katerinovka):

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

We went to Aleksandrovsk town standing close to Lugansk just north on a parallel road. But the bypass was useless due to the damaged bridge over the railway, and the try to go on along the country road ended that in the middle of the path, admiring distant skyline of Lugansk (see. The first part), we gave up and went to crawl through the city. Aleksandrovsk itself, as already mentioned, is also a city (6.7 thousand people.) since 1961, but the entire neighborhood calls it Aleksandrovka – no urban attributes in it I did not notice, seemingly ordinary suburb of the regional center:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

A military monuments and villages are … but let your eye have a rest from war in Aleksandrovka –there is no trace of it, and we did not come for this.

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

On the other side of the square – there is a Church of the Ascension (1840), clearly rebuilt later in a typical clone of HHS. We had to go round it, the most beautiful in it is on this photo – false Gothic fence, and there is also a luxurious gate there.

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

However, the main attraction of the town is very close – it is a natural manor, known by Lugansk people as the Pansky garden or Yuzbashevka. Such estates opened before all the mines and plants in Lugansk is not uncommon (but in the DPR I do not remember them), and although I am not a fan of country estates, I would like to see at least one of them – the fact is that it is one of the few tangible reminders of the Slavo-Serbia:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

… New Russia traditionally perceived as an edge, where Catherine II drove the Cossacks and invited immigrants from Russia, and from the Orthodox countries under Ottoman authority, creating a Black Sea America. But it is less known that this project had a kind of rehearsal: there is an opinion among the Don Cossacks that steppe at Lugan the age-old Don edge were deserted after Bulavin revolt, and half a century later because of the invitation of Elizabeth Orthodox immigrants from foreign lands began to arrive – these “Austrian Cossacks” from Serbia and Croatia, at that time constituted a third of the Habsburg army. Earlier, in 1751, there was created a New Serbia around this (from today!) Kropivnitskiy, and in 1753 – Slavo-Serbia between the rivers Seversky Donets and Lugan, which is headed by Colonel Ivan Shevich and Rajko de Preradovic. In 1762, the Authority had been abolished, the serving of the Serbs at the end of the century was transferred to the Kuban Cossacks (one of them was a Lermontov’s “fatalist” Vulic), but Catherine decided to repeat it.

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

But the legacy of Slavo-Serbia in Lugansk left the estate of Serbian origin noblemen, one of whom was Constantine Yuzbashev, commander of the village Yellow Yar, in the administrative division of the Slavo-Serbia means from the 5th company. His own country estate called Yuzbashevkoy and overgrown suburb is called Aleksandrovka in honor of her son since 1783. In the 19th century manor house had several owners (Somovi, Rubenstein, Ilovaiskaie), the latest of which was Viktor Golubev – an outstanding Russian engineer, one of the founders of the Bryansk plant (where all life leaked to Luganskteplovoz), his much more known estate was Kiev Parkhomovka with church-milestone “Russian Art Nouveau”. However Yuzbashevke was not lucky – in the Civil war everything valuable was taken away by Germans, that came down to the Don, under the Soviets there was sitting a district administration, and then even tubercular dispensary, moved out of the estate in 2006. Since then, it stands typical in the post-Soviet countries manner.

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

Luxury abandoned palace is notable for the date on the front – “1772”. Its value has not yet been unriddled, if this is the time of the palace buildings – then it is a quite authentic heritage of Slavo-Serbia. The current appearance of the palace got in 1840.

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

The most beautiful in it – capitals of the columns:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

You can go inside. Somebody noticed that the label “Architectural protected by the State” attracted curses to the building:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

Nothing like the interiors has been preserved in the palace:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

And war is not to blame – palace decayed in Ukraine, decayed in LPR, will decay even when Ukraine come back:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

… Since the evening Michael offered to bring us to positions, and I hesitated a long time, whether it is worth it. He himself was under fire, and knew exactly that a sniper is holding him at gunpoint. We – on the contrary, as long as it is necessary to already start to be afraid and still not stop, and so I changed decision several times, and Michael looked at me with a good-natured grin. We went to Lugansk on the bypass, the northern part of it is pretty well – there was an idea to enjoy the city on the way back from Kambrod. But at some point, at the northern entrance to the city, we saw a ruined three sheets to the traffic police post, and then I realized that I have to go! A terrible, damn way beckons to the front, perhaps because in every man, even in a pacifist or a coward, war is sitting in the subconscious. Moreover, it is the road to Schastie:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

Schastie in this case – it’s just a small town of the Seversky Donets at Lugansk TPP part of Lugansk, before the war . Slightly lower along Donets there is Stanitsa Luganskaya – for Lugansk it is like Avdeevka and Peski for Donetsk, suburbs behind the front line, and there is the same obsession to return them as soon as possible. According to Michael (he won’t lie as he is for Ukraine), and on the other side people wait for New Russian Army – firstly, because after lands of Don Army Region there were Seversky Donets and in the village actually live Cossacks – not maskers, but native and be ancestral memory, and secondly – because many relatives are in militia. Finally, there were not so much the APU as the fiercest of the volunteer battalions of “Aydar”, and exactly in this place on June 14, 2014 (the rich day for events – APU occupy Schastie, IL-76 is knocked down airport), a major battle took place between militias and aydarovtsami:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

The cross reminds us that, at this point, on June 17, 2014 under mortar fire, two Russian journalists died – correspondent Igor Kornelyuk and sound engineer Anton Voloshin and Nadezhda Savchenko was an aimer of this fire, once the fiercest fighter of all Ukrainian army and now the most colorful character of the entire Ukrainian politics.

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

We go to the front, past the village of Metalist:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

Ahead there are tubes of Lugansk plant – that’s it, Schastie!

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

There are a lot of renches – one line, the second … In the third, we clearly discerned something under trees of sawmill:

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

This is nothing like the Ukrainian army abandoned positions, three lines of defense, closest to the rear of which was in the rear of the current BCH. But it all looks as if it was thrown yesterday, and at that table maybe were highly motivated “aydarovtsy”, or frightened conscripts, and maybe personally Nadezhda Savchenko.

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

We drove a little more forward, buried in a militia checkpoint, and Michael shook hands with a man standing on a post with a completely Ryazan species. He was able to speak clearly with soldiers – greeted and wished that usually willing, but explained:
-Here, Brought friends, non-native, we are driving.
-Me myself a foreigner.
-Russia?
-Slovakiya – Only then I felt his light accent, and chimed in:
-That is interesting and why are you there?
-I Do not like what is happening in Europe, they destroyed our country.
Michael asked:
-How it is here today? Calm?
Very quiet. But not for this serenity I was driving here.
At this time a young soldier in a cinematic kind of knee pads came out, and Slovakian was not up to us:
Oh, who else put you on your knees ?!
We wished good luck to the military and went back through the same Ukrainian abandoned positions. Here they are on the other side of the road, after sawmill there is a valley of the Seversky Donets. Like in that song, I put it on a trip epigraph: “Somewhere there is a Forest River, beyond there is a river front, and the enemies are after the front.” Not my enemies, of course, and most of those who have stayed here, and not all that people dwell on the other side but the army …

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City

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Lugansk 2016: Around the War Torn City


In the next two parts I’ll show Alchevsk – one of the most interesting cities in the Donbass.

 

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