In the shadow of Russian offensive
On 10th September 2023, the Ukrainian authorities announced the obligatory evacuation of settlements in the area of Kupiansk, on the east bank of the river Oskol — including parts of Kupiansk itself. Less than a year after being liberated by the Ukrainian army, the town and its suburbs, being an important railway and road junction connected directly to Russia itself, again became an important military objective, endangered by the Russian offensive.
Once a 27-thousand town, Kupiansk, now a home for 5.5 thousand souls, ravaged by the sweeping war front and months of Russian occupation, just won’t give up living. The emergency and support services — the police, the firefighter crew, the health care, as well as shops and municipal administration — are still there. Despite the everyday shelling, there’s water and electricity; the bakeries bake fresh bread, people queue to the post office and to the Orthodox religious services. Some families decided not to leave and their children are still there, playing among shattered buildings.
In this report we show how the people endure the risks of shelling and death, what motivates them to stay and how they manage to live in the frightening shadow of war. We talk to heroes who try to save the endangered town, and to those, who simply decided not to leave.
For The Kyiv Independent.