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'No-one wants more war': Mother of jailed son makes emotional appeal from eastern Ukraine

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By Anelise Borges
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'No-one wants more war': Mother of jailed son makes emotional appeal from eastern Ukraine
Copyright  EURONEWS

Avdiivka is less than one kilometre from one of the multiple frontlines in the eight-year conflict between the Ukrainian army and Russian-backed separatists.

Much of the area is damaged. Burned vehicles and also pieces of military equipment litter the area with destroyed buildings looking bleak and forgotten.

A military checkpoint is nearby and cannot be filmed. The area is in stark contrast to the capital Kyiv.

In Avdiivka there's a sense of just how tense the situation is and has been for almost a decade. People in this region say they are watching the latest developments very closely. They're following European leaders, what the US president, and of course what the Russian president, have been saying.

They know that the German foreign affairs minister is going to visit the area to see for herself what the situation is like.

But there is also a sense that the entire world is missing one point. Of course, they have fears with regards to the possibility of Russia coming to this area or a Russian incursion into Ukraine. But, they say, war has already started here -- in fact, it's been going on for almost a decade.

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Map showing AvdiyivkaEuronews

For Galina Dzjucik, the conflict between Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainian army has been personally devastating.

Her son, 34-year-old Viktor Dzjucik, was last seen at a checkpoint in rebel-held territory in 2017.

Galina later discovered he had been detained and charged with espionage and terrorism and sentenced to 16 years in prison.

“There have been no calls from him, nothing, I do not know anything," explained Galina.

The existence of secret prisons in the area is one of the lesser-known aspects of the conflict, but authorities have included the exchange of detainees in a set of agreements designed to end the war.

"We have had three (prisoner) exchanges since 2017, but he hasn’t been confirmed on the lists," said Galina. "They give papers with their signatures, their stamps confirming he is there, but after three exchanges, you see, he is not home."

“I questioned all organisations here in Ukraine as well, including the President and the Denisova office -- our ombudsman, the secrete services, etc. And I've even had replies from them," she says as she shows the papers.

Galina said the current rise in tensions between Russia and Ukraine is obviously bad news for everyone in Avdiivka.

But it is particularly painful for some families like hers, who fear the military aspect of the crisis will overshadow their plight.

"We don’t need this war anymore," said Galina. "I lived through so much though and we have suffered like no one else. I believe no one wants this military aggression to go on."