The browser or device you are using is out of date. It has known security flaws and a limited feature set. You will not see all the features of some websites. Please update your browser. A list of the most popular browsers can be found below.
Shale gas stopped being the talk of Slovyansk, but the fear of war did not. Even after Ukrainian military forces pushed rebels and their commander, a former senior officer of the Russian Federal Security Service, Igor Strelkov, out of Slovyansk in July, many people continued to talk of Kiev officials’ going after everybody involved with the separatists.
“They could easily deport the population of Slovyansk, poison the drinking water and our natural resorts on the lakes. We’ll fight for as long as we live to free our Slovyansk of Ukrainian occupants,” Denis Shpakovsky promised in an interview in Donetsk earlier this month.
After retreating from Slovyansk, Shpakovsky, 31, served in Strelkov’s security force at a prison in Donetsk. On the day Ukrainian troops moved on Slovyansk, he had to evacuate eight members of his family, including his 10-year-old daughter, Dasha, to the Russian city of Rostov.
Even several days after losing Slovyansk to “enemies, Americans and Ukrainians” he had tears in his eyes as he described how his family lived in the basement of his garage, hiding from shelling.
Almost every resident of the Donbass now has a war story to tell. On Bulvarnaya Avenue, it was almost dark. The noise of a heavy military airplane made everybody in the yard pause and look up at the sky. A round-faced woman, Anna, said she was still afraid of the war. She wondered how soon Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama could agree to make peace. Neighbors questioned whether they should fix the broken glass in their windows or wait, in case more bombs and shells fall on their town.