TAGANROG, Russia – Lyudmila V. Ladnik fled her home in eastern Ukraine, fearing that rising tensions might force her back to the same bomb shelter she took shelter seven years ago, when the town of Debaltsevo Her property was shelled during the fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists.
But when she arrived in Russia on Sunday, part of a growing evacuation ordered by separatist leaders, she wanted to go back.
“They lied to us,” said Ladnik, 62, angrily referring to Russian authorities. She said she had been told that residents of the breakaway regions would stay temporarily in Rostov, but on Sunday she learned that they would be moved further inside Russia, to a new town. towns such as Kursk. To her dismay, she wondered if her evacuation to Russia would take longer than she expected.
“We’re now calling people home, telling them to stay,” she said.
Confusion swept over Sunday as more and more people arrived in Russia following warnings from Kremlin-backed rebel leaders that Ukraine was about to launch an attack on breakaway regions. The government in Kyiv has denied any such plans and rebel leaders have offered no evidence to support their claims. The United States said the warnings could be part of a Russian propaganda campaign to justify Moscow’s military intervention.
The situation in eastern Ukraine has escalated rapidly over the past week, with both the Ukrainian government and Russia-backed rebels accusing artillery fire in violation of ceasefire agreements.
While Russia tries to portray the flow of refugees as evidence of Ukraine’s menacing posture, those passing through the train station in Taganrog, a Russian city located on the Sea of Azov near the border with Ukraine, flout helpless, fearful of warnings of more violence but unsure of what awaits. Commander of the Armed Forces of Ukraine speak in a statement that the refugees were being “used to escalate the situation in order to incite another wave of bloodshed.”
Ms Ladnik was one of several hundred people who boarded a train in Taganrog on Sunday, forced into the depths of Russia. Mothers drag their children, elders carry heavy suitcases onto the train.
They did not know their destination, and rumors spread. Some whispered that it could be Nizhny Novgorod in central Russia, others were less certain. Some got off the train after learning it could take them very far, fearing that they wouldn’t be able to afford to return, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s promise to pay them about 130 each. USD.
Vika Zubchenko, 27, decided to rely on her own resources. She and her sister-in-law Yelena Sayakina, 45, rented a house in Taganrog for two weeks. Her husband had to stay in their town of Debaltsevo, banned from leaving by the separatist authorities, who had called for a mass mobilization of men of military age.
Ms. Zubchenko said that she was completely frightened at home, in the Donetsk region, in eastern Ukraine.
“The shops there have run out of batteries and candles,” said Ms. Zubchenko, expressing the common feelings of people from Ukraine’s breakaway region who have lived through fierce fighting. paralyzed in 2014 and 2015. Many of those who fled this time said they were worried about their children. .
“In 2015, I didn’t have her,” Ms. Zubchenko said, pointing at her 5-year-old daughter Alisa.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/20/world/europe/russia-eastern-ukraine-evacuation.html People from Eastern Ukraine are evacuating to Russia as tensions continue