“It’s better to die at home than abroad,” Ukraine War
Attendants in stylish, traditional costumes assist passengers in descending the steep carriage steps at the Dnipro train station in the eastern Ukrainian city.
The trains here have never ceased operating for the millions of people who depend on them, despite Russia’s full-scale invasion.
We board and travel to the final station before the eastern front line, a voyage that is strongly advised against.
It quickly becomes apparent that this isn’t just a path to the battleground as we maneuver past the sticking feet that line the stuffy sleeper train.
There are soldiers, it’s true. You may wonder what they are thinking as the majority of them stare out the window.
However, there are also young families returning home.
At Pokrovsk station, Viktoria and Serhiy Makarov are reunited.
Photo credit: BBC/Davy McIlveen
At the Pokrovsk train station, Viktoria and her husband Serhiy are reunited.
Eva’s mother, Viktoria, is returning to Pokrovsk with her. The 20-year-old claims to be tired of avoiding the war, but she still has concerns.
She responds, “I have to defeat them in some way. “Wandering all over like this is not feasible. We must implement it at home.
Viktoria has been traveling across Slovakia and Ukraine since February of last year in an effort to protect herself and her kid.
We arrive at Pokrovsk after three hours of zigzagging through the lush green of Ukraine’s countryside, where Viktoria is welcomed by the spouse she left behind.
Serhiy, who had been waiting on the platform with a bouquet of flowers, exclaims, “I’m overwhelmed.”
“I’m overjoyed to see my lovely wife and daughter. All I want is for us to sit together and talk.
Such arrivals are a part of a larger pattern in Ukraine. Six million Ukrainians have since made their way back to their nation following the heartbreaking departure scenes of the previous year.
Thousands of them are returning to their homes along the 600-mile (965-km) front line, where a Russian strike is still a possibility.
Serhiy is one of many people who stayed in Pokrovsk because of his job at the nearby coal mine, an industry that is fundamental to this area and a significant employer.
In eastern Ukraine, 16 kilometers of tunnels will soon be home to coal miners.
Photo credit: BBC/Davy McIlveen
After Russia’s full-scale invasion started, many coal miners continued to work in Pokrovsk’s extensive network of tunnels.
Not only has it resulted in thousands of people staying, but the promise of new jobs is also luring many back.
Early in the morning, miners rush to shuttle buses that will carry them to the mine shaft. They may need to travel for up to an hour to get where they need to go, even when they are 800 meters (2,600 feet) deep.
For 20 years, Volodymyr has been employed here. His packed lunch is tucked down the front of his overalls. In this region, people refer to their cuisine as “tormozok,” which is a reference to the mine shaft’s emergency brake.
Because of the importance of their roles, he and a few of his coworkers are shielded from mobilization. Volodymyr balances his personal safety and straightforward economics when he leaves for work. He has a job to do.
“You don’t know what’s going on with the family above when you go underground. I’m frequently really anxious.
a coal worker named Volodymyr Vorona from Pokrovsk, Ukraine
Pokrovsk’s population is slowly increasing after falling by two-thirds from 65,000 in the previous year. Svitlana, a station control room employee, claimed it was “like an apocalypse – I had never seen so many people leave” when the war broke out in 2022.
It is now a destination for those fleeing the violence and Russian occupation.
This community is very much in a state of conflict. Soldiers and citizens are mixed equally in the streets. Since the beginning of Russia’s attack nine years ago, this region has experienced conflict.
Despite their cautions urging visitors to stay away, the local authorities’ restoration of water and power is another draw.
The Russian MRLS are still comfortably within striking distance of Pokrovsk. You are reminded of their indiscriminate danger by the scars that dot the town.