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A grave was dug on a sidewalk in Siwersk, Ukraine

#grave #dug #sidewalk #Siwersk #Ukraine

Oleksy’s grave was hastily dug on the sidewalk near one of the few buildings still standing in Siversk, a small town in eastern Ukraine near the front line of the war with Russia.

The 46-year-old died in a rocket attack on June 30, one of the many casualties of February’s Russian invasion of pro-western Ukraine.

His final resting place outside the Siversk Cultural Center is just a small mound of earth covered with two concrete slabs – part of a nearby fence – that serve as a tombstone.

“Rest in peace, my brother. We love you, we are thinking of you, we mourn you,” reads a cardboard sign next to the makeshift grave.

A small bouquet of yellow flowers was placed on it.

“What can I tell you? He was sitting there in front of his house, there were two missiles and he died instantly,” said Valery, a 56-year-old neighbor.

But he doesn’t have time to share more information. Staying in one place for too long is dangerous in Siversk.

Siversk lives and breathes fear. The town of around 10,000 pre-war residents has been under relentless fire from nearby Russian forces for weeks.

Its streets are riddled with huge craters, its buildings scorched by fire. Outside, stray cats and dogs play near the remains of missiles embedded in the sidewalks.

Relics of an abandoned life can be seen through the windows on the first floor of badly damaged buildings: chests of drawers, family photos, fallen armchairs.

– ‘I can’t leave her’ –

But despite the looming danger, some people are out on the streets, walking or riding bicycles, with the expressions of those who are not afraid.

“Of course I would like to go, but I have a 90-year-old mother who told me that she would die here. I can’t leave her,” says Oleksandr, a man in his 60s.

Others don’t have the means to flee the constant shelling.

“We have our house here, it’s the work of our lives. And we don’t have any money to leave it,” says 50-year-old Anzhela, who like most people prefers to use only her first name.

At the entrance to underground cellars where the city’s remaining civilians take shelter, gas ovens are used to cook food.

But others have evacuated or are now doing so as fighting for eastern Ukraine intensifies. A family drives by in a trailer car carrying a refrigerator and a bicycle.

A torn Ukrainian flag flies over the remains of a flame-blackened building, likely a workers’ hostel.

And in front of a nearly cremated house lies an empty wooden coffin.

It seems that no one had time to use it for its intended purpose.

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#grave #dug #sidewalk #Siwersk #Ukraine

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