Trauma of war & betrayal in E. Ukraine will take decades to heal, locals say
Over 10,000 people have been killed in the bloody conflict in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which started after the population there refused to accept the coup and proclaimed independence from Kiev.
“They consider us to be terrorists. You see, we are walking peacefully, like normal, simple people, why are we terrorists? They think we are, that’s why they don’t have any pity for us,” one local man told RT’s Murad Gazdiev.
Relations between the east and the west of Ukraine have never been simple, but have soured considerably over what Donbass region residents see as a massive betrayal. These wounds will not be easy to heal, they say.
“We lived in fear for a year, we didn’t know where to hide. They’re shooting at us. How do you expect me to treat them after that?” the same man told RT, with the woman next to him adding, “I doubt it will be forgotten soon.”
An elderly man echoed the concerns, saying, “It will take a long time for people to forget it. Maybe about 50 years, like after World War II.”
“We didn’t like each other before, but since they’ve come to kill us, we will treat them much worse now,” another woman said.
Recently, monuments dedicated to those who lost their lives in the conflict have appeared all over eastern Ukraine. RT’s Murad Gazdiev stopped to look at one of them, a bell made out of a spent artillery casing. It contains a long list of names – all of them children, with their ages listed, including that of a child just one year old.
Villages and towns can be rebuilt, but finding a way back to trust and safety in a nation ripped apart by civil conflict could take decades.