In the far east of Ukraine, it was a discreet, charming, nothing small town with two factories, its 27,000 people and its river. In February, the Russian invasion made Kubianske a strategic point, marked in red on the staff map today. The railway center on the border of the two countries, in fact, the city became the gateway to supply Russian troops on the northern front of the Donbass, whose limits begin at twenty kilometers.
In the autumn rain, the Ukrainian counteroffensive planted its flag in the city’s main square. “Kharkiv area is 94% under our control and the reclaimed area is almost completely destroyed”, says the Ukrainian deputy commander of the base near Izium, nicknamed “Diver” (“Frog”). This is “almost” Makes all the difference. Around Kubiansk, the Russian soldiers continued to fight hard, while elsewhere they retreated rapidly. Ukrainian official visits to celebrate the victory there are being postponed by the day.
Near the town hall, residents remember that at the beginning of the Russian invasion, the city fell without a shot. “It will prevent destruction”, who supported a mayor elected from a pro-Kremlin party, greeted the occupiers politely. The city’s strategic position quickly established it as a Russian administrative and military base in the region. All signs of a planned merger appeared: campaign posters, open registrations for obtaining Russian passports, distribution of phone chips or bonus payments to pensioners. Only Moscow TV channels were allowed.
The sound of fighting is getting closer
Dmytro, a mechanic, regularly took one of the two daily shuttles to the nearby Russian Federation. There, he found it easy to find a job. Today, in Kubyansk, passers-by who see him talking to strangers turn away from him, their faces covered, hostile and at the same time afraid. At a camp table, Galina sells pasta, shampoo, and matches. Ruble and hryvnia (Russian and Ukrainian currencies) accepted. “It was quiet with the Russians”she says. “No One Objected”Dimitro continues, raising his voice over the ambient noise of fighting.
“On television, I saw…”, Dimitro begins. The farmer cuts him off: “To find out what’s going on, I look through the window, not the television. »
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