Euronews has seen firsthand the struggle of people living on the frontline of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
The militia fighters of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic accompanied our film crew to the town of Staromykhailivka, some 20 kilometres west of Donetsk.
Our correspondent Sergio Cantone reported: “According to the militia who brought us here, we are right on the front line. We are just one kilometre from the Ukrainian outposts and positions.”
One elderly woman showed us the ruins of her destroyed home, hit by a rocket.
Questioned about the weekend election in Donetsk, another woman said: “Maybe now we’ll be officially recognised, so we can ask for help and get it from somewhere. There’s been a lot of uncertainty.”
Coal has been given to her family by a friend who is a miner. Residents have had neither electricity nor gas for three months. Water supplies are also disrupted.
The town has been caught up in the crossfire in the fighting between Ukrainian forces and separatists.
An Orthodox priest told Euronews he did not vote on Sunday.
“A lot of people wish this place to be Russian territory,” he said. “Now they say it does not matter what they will decide, because the most important thing is to bring peace to the region, because we can’t go on living in these conditions.”
Many schools are also not yet open in the region.