People in Donbas grey zone: What is left in a village in Donbas grey zone?
Society17:21 Oct. 25, 2016
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What is left in a village in Donbas grey zone?

Any evidence of life is slowly fading away

Villages in the Donbas grey zone are gradually decaying. The area is between the temporarily occupied territory and the Ukrainian army positions.

The village of Verkhnyotoretske. It seems life has stopped there. Officially, it is Ukrainian territory under the Minsk agreements. However, the nearest separatist flag is only half a kilometer away.

Watch also Russian-separatist forces increase reconnaissance operations near Donetsk

Windows and doors are boarded up, cars are a rare sight in the streets and the collapsed bridge still hasn't been restored. With some hope for a bridge renewal left - construction materials have already been delivered to the site.

A local resident Hanya lives alone and survives thanks to her own garden. Her son is in the occupied territory. And the lady is really happy to see new people around.

Hanya, local resident: They shell, even during day time. 

13-year old Ivan doesn't visit the occupied territory, but he does have a lot of friends there.

Ivan, local resident: I don't have friends in this street, only in the center. 

A local store accepts Ukrainian hryvnias, though a couple of kilometers away in the separatist-held areas Russian rubles are used.

Read also Financial Times: Life in Ukraine's grey zone - dangerous and desperate

"It's a Ukrainian store. All goods are from Ukraine. But we are still not fully Ukrainian. It's a grey zone"

Everyone knows that their lives can change quickly, any second. Because of the night shelling, fire accidents happen often and there is nobody to extinguish them.

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