Slovyansk is surrounded by the Ukrainian army, and pro-Russians who have died at nearby roadblocks are honoured in a makeshift memorial.
Those who have seized power call the shots, and everyone else gets their heads down and carries on. Business as usual for a cowed population, but mixed with trepidation, and anger.
“We hope that the Kyiv authorities are normal, decent people and will not shoot at us, peaceful residents,” said one woman.
“Now it’s more or less quiet here, but before the blood of peaceful people was spilled. The aggressor in this situation is America,” said a man in camouflage fatigues.
This has always been a one-party town, voting for Viktor Yanukovych, and where criminal gangs have ruled the roost. Speaking out has always held risks, but some have had enough.
“Of course I don’t approve the situation. Who would approve of this? We are fed up. We want things to be better, we want peace, we want things to be good,” said one woman.
However conditions are degrading in the city, as occupied official buildings are unable to administrate, and unless the situation eases soon residents, pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian alike, will be facing hardship.