Displaced Ukrainians returning to war zones – media

Many Ukrainians who fled early in the conflict are going back to their homes, even in Russian-controlled territory, Euronews reports

Displaced Ukrainians returning to war zones – media

Displaced Ukrainians returning to war zones – media

Thousands are going back to frontline cities and even Russian-held territory

People who fled the fighting in the east and south of Ukraine are now going back, both to towns under control of the government in Kiev and territory held by Russian troops, Euronews has reported. Testimonies suggest the returnees prefer the risks of living at home to the uncertainty of displacement.

“Tens of thousands” of Ukrainians who were evacuated from the Donetsk region at the start of the conflict have since returned, Euronews’ Russian-language service reported on Monday. According to the mayor of Pokrovsk, some 70% of the evacuees have recently come back to the city, which is on the territory controlled by Ukraine but claimed by the Donetsk People’s Republic.

“We were fed, there was food, but it was temporary. And then we were told to go to a nursing home. My son did not want to,” Tamara Markova, 82, told the outlet. She and her son Nikolay spent less than a week in Dnepr before deciding they’d rather take their chances at home.

Karina Smulskaya, 18, now works as a waitress to support her entire family.

“I understand that being in the city is very risky. But if you leave ... Who is waiting for us there? Who needs us there? And we need to earn money!” she told Euronews.

Pokrovsk, formerly known as Krasnoarmeysk, is about 60 kilometers or so from the front lines near Donetsk city. 

Moscow is offering Russian citizenship to residents of regions under its control. The government in Kiev has responded by proposing a law that could see Ukrainians who apply for Russian citizenship jailed for up to 15 years. Despite this, some people are choosing to return to Russian-held territories such as Zaporozhye.

Euronews. Some people wait up to 10 days for permission to cross. Ukrainian troops warn them of possible danger and inspect the cars for weapons and extra fuel, then reluctantly let them through.

“My mother and sister live there,” one person told the outlet. “If they don’t bother or provoke [the Russians], they can live more or less fine.”

“create powerful armed forces.”