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Ukraine War: 1,500 people huddle in cellars as Russia shells Avdiivka

Volunteer Olga and a resident of Avdiivka anxiously check the sky for shells, Avdiivka, Ukraine, October 22, 2023
Volunteer Olga and a resident of Avdiivka anxiously check the sky for shells, Avdiivka, Ukraine, October 22, 2023 Copyright EBB
Copyright EBB
By Euronews with AP, AFP, EBU
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Volunteers deliver food supplies to the last remaining residents of a coalfield town that was home to 30,000 before Moscow's full-scale assault began

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Amidst the shattered homes and rubble-strewn streets of Avdiivka, Ukrainian police are attempting to persuade its 1,500 residents to leave while volunteers risk their lives to deliver food and water to those who are determined to remain.

The town which grew up around a coke plant in eastern Ukraine’s coalfield was home to 30,000 people before the war started.

A Ukrainian policeman looks for residents of Avdiivka to help them evacuate if they are prepared to leave. October 20th, 2023
A Ukrainian policeman looks for residents of Avdiivka to help them evacuate if they are prepared to leave. October 20th, 2023AFP

Now it’s become a strategic objective on Russian military maps. Wave after wave of its infantry have tried, and reportedly died, trying to scale Avdiivka’s giant slag heap.

The danger for civilians still cowering in basements in the town comes from shells.

Olga, a volunteer, takes supplies to those too frightened to leave. She described the scene:

"There is no communication, no water, no electricity. There are no shops, no pharmacies at all. There are no doctors: people, today a woman said that she had an injury. I understand that there was a recent shelling. And the woman was wounded, and she is lying there at home.”

Avdiivka has been a symbol of Ukrainian resistance since 2014 after it briefly fell to Russian-backed separatists.

It lies just 15 kilometres from the Moscow-held city of Donetsk.

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