Zaitseve in Eastern Ukraine has been in ‘no man’s land since the conflict between Pro-Russian separatists and the Ukranian military broke out in April 2014.
Local resident Svetlana hits gas pipes with a hammer to let her neighbours know that the UN refugee agency have arrived. They gather to seek legal advice. The inhabitants have been cut off from the world without access to food, medical care, social services or their pensions for over two years.
Since September, the UNCHR has managed to send buses twice a week to take the locals to neighbouring towns.
Svetlana told reporters: “It was incredibly helpful. Because we were cut off here. No one could get to us and we couldn’t go anywhere.”
The sound of gunfire is a constant reminder to the locals of the danger on their doorstep. Tamara Timofeevna explained: “We have no light (no electricity). They shoot at us. And we have no light, no coal, no wood.”
One young girl called Tamara, said that when she hears gunfire she runs to the corner and hides.
Homes have been destroyed, there is no school, church or hospital. Many barely had enough fuel to survive last winter and bread and coal is being rationed. It is estimated that over three million people living along the front lines of the conflict are in need of assistance.