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14 Jul, 2014 15:20

Staying alive under fire: RT reporter joins Lugansk ambulance as city gets shelled

Emergency services in Lugansk have been busier than ever with the city getting its daily shelling by Kiev’s troops. An RT reporter spent a day with an ambulance crew there to learn how the city’s new everyday reality is blood and destruction.

The first call the ambulance gets is from Kambrod, an area in the northern part of the city. RT’s Maria Finoshina, who has joined the doctors on their rounds, says the siren is hardly needed on the almost totally empty streets of Lugansk.

When they arrive at the place, they are told by residents that at least six shells landed here just minutes ago.

A girl whose mother is being taken to hospital is crying and shaking.

Screenshot from RT video / House damaged by shelling in Lugansk, Eastern Ukraine

“My mom was knocked off her feet by an explosion,” she says through her tears. “There's shrapnel everywhere. Look at our gate! This is very scary!”

A crater from a blast is seen on the road. The locals believe there could still be unexploded missiles near. They all believe it’s a miracle no one died.

“I just came out from my front yard and they started shelling and I fell,” a man says. “Shrapnel was falling next to me and another man. I am extremely lucky to be alive.”

Screenshot from RT video / RT’s Maria Finoshina talks to a girl whose mother was wounded in shelling by Kiev’s troops in Lugansk, Eastern Ukraine

In two other locations where the ambulance visits, there is less luck. A young fighter dies seconds after doctors are there and at the next location a woman was killed.

But before any other details are clear, an air raid siren is heard and everybody has to run to a nearby basement for shelter. It’s there that a local man tells what happened.

“A woman was killed – her head and arm were ripped off,” he says. “She was hit by a shell.”

And that’s just one in nearly 500 similar stories, as that’s how many civilians died in Kiev’s military crackdown on the eastern regions of Ukraine. The figures are official ones, which means the real ones can be even bigger. And no end to the body count is yet in sight.

Screenshot from RT video / A man taken to hospital after he was wounded in shelling by Kiev’s troops in Lugansk, Eastern Ukraine