Home Entertainment Nighttime rocket strikes spread fear in east Ukrainian city

Nighttime rocket strikes spread fear in east Ukrainian city

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  • Mariia Ruban, 92, is helped by a neighbor as she stand at garden of her house that damaged its roof and windows after a Russian attack in Sloviansk, Ukraine, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. "I have lived through everything, even starvation. But I have never seen anything like this, like what happened today," says Ruban, supporting herself on a rough wooden cane as she stood in her garden.


    Mariia Ruban, 92, is helped by a neighbor as she stand at garden of her house that damaged its roof and windows after a Russian attack in Sloviansk, Ukraine, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. “I have lived through everything, even starvation. But I have never seen anything like this, like what happened today,” says Ruban, supporting herself on a rough wooden cane as she stood in her garden.
    Associated Press

  • Raisa Smielkova, 75, stands in front the place where she lives after a Russian attack that heavily damaged a residential building in Sloviansk, Ukraine, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022. This war, she said, is worse than the previous one in 2014, when Ukrainian forces battled Russian-backed separatists. "There is more destruction. Everything is worse. Just everything." Relying on their pensions to survive, she and her husband can't afford to move away to a safer part of Ukraine, Smelkova explained.


    Raisa Smielkova, 75, stands in front the place where she lives after a Russian attack that heavily damaged a residential building in Sloviansk, Ukraine, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022. This war, she said, is worse than the previous one in 2014, when Ukrainian forces battled Russian-backed separatists. “There is more destruction. Everything is worse. Just everything.” Relying on their pensions to survive, she and her husband can’t afford to move away to a safer part of Ukraine, Smelkova explained.
    Associated Press

  • FILE - A woman stands in front of a house that was heavily damaged after a Russian attack in Sloviansk, Ukraine, on Sept. 6, 2022. It's at night that residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk are most afraid, when rocket and artillery attacks happen more frequently. Shells and rockets slam into gardens and apartment buildings, sending chunks of masonry and shards of glass hurtling through the darkness.


    FILE – A woman stands in front of a house that was heavily damaged after a Russian attack in Sloviansk, Ukraine, on Sept. 6, 2022. It’s at night that residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk are most afraid, when rocket and artillery attacks happen more frequently. Shells and rockets slam into gardens and apartment buildings, sending chunks of masonry and shards of glass hurtling through the darkness.
    Associated Press

  • FILE - A firefighter works to extinguish a fire after a Russian attack that heavily damaged a residential building in Sloviansk, Ukraine, on Sept. 7, 2022. It's at night that residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk are most afraid, when rocket and artillery attacks happen more frequently. Shells and rockets slam into gardens and apartment buildings, sending chunks of masonry and shards of glass hurtling through the darkness.


    FILE – A firefighter works to extinguish a fire after a Russian attack that heavily damaged a residential building in Sloviansk, Ukraine, on Sept. 7, 2022. It’s at night that residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk are most afraid, when rocket and artillery attacks happen more frequently. Shells and rockets slam into gardens and apartment buildings, sending chunks of masonry and shards of glass hurtling through the darkness.
    Associated Press

  • Men work to cover with plywood the damaged windows of Mariia Ruban's house that was damaged after a Russian attack in Sloviansk, Ukraine, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. It's at night that residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk are most afraid, when rocket and artillery attacks happen more frequently. Shells and rockets slam into gardens and apartment buildings, sending chunks of masonry and shards of glass hurtling through the darkness.


    Men work to cover with plywood the damaged windows of Mariia Ruban’s house that was damaged after a Russian attack in Sloviansk, Ukraine, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. It’s at night that residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk are most afraid, when rocket and artillery attacks happen more frequently. Shells and rockets slam into gardens and apartment buildings, sending chunks of masonry and shards of glass hurtling through the darkness.
    Associated Press

  • FILE - A man works on the roof of a house that was damaged after a Russian attack in Sloviansk, Ukraine, on Sept. 6, 2022. It's at night that residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk are most afraid, when rocket and artillery attacks happen more frequently. Shells and rockets slam into gardens and apartment buildings, sending chunks of masonry and shards of glass hurtling through the darkness.


    FILE – A man works on the roof of a house that was damaged after a Russian attack in Sloviansk, Ukraine, on Sept. 6, 2022. It’s at night that residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk are most afraid, when rocket and artillery attacks happen more frequently. Shells and rockets slam into gardens and apartment buildings, sending chunks of masonry and shards of glass hurtling through the darkness.
    Associated Press

  • FILE - Tetyana, right, takes shelter inside the basement of a residential building during a Russian attack in Sloviansk, eastern Ukraine, on Aug. 29, 2022. "When it's going to end?" asks the 64-year-old woman after arriving in the basement with her hands shaking.


    FILE – Tetyana, right, takes shelter inside the basement of a residential building during a Russian attack in Sloviansk, eastern Ukraine, on Aug. 29, 2022. “When it’s going to end?” asks the 64-year-old woman after arriving in the basement with her hands shaking.
    Associated Press

  • FILE - An elderly woman carries the frame of a damaged window at a residential area after a Russian attack in Sloviansk, eastern Ukraine, on Aug. 29, 2022. It's at night that residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk are most afraid, when rocket and artillery attacks happen more frequently. Shells and rockets slam into gardens and apartment buildings, sending chunks of masonry and shards of glass hurtling through the darkness.


    FILE – An elderly woman carries the frame of a damaged window at a residential area after a Russian attack in Sloviansk, eastern Ukraine, on Aug. 29, 2022. It’s at night that residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk are most afraid, when rocket and artillery attacks happen more frequently. Shells and rockets slam into gardens and apartment buildings, sending chunks of masonry and shards of glass hurtling through the darkness.
    Associated Press

  • FILE - Firefighters carry a bag containing a body of a person after a Russian attack that heavily damaged a residential building in Sloviansk, Ukraine, on Sept. 7, 2022. It's at night that residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk are most afraid, when rocket and artillery attacks happen more frequently. Shells and rockets slam into gardens and apartment buildings, sending chunks of masonry and shards of glass hurtling through the darkness.


    FILE – Firefighters carry a bag containing a body of a person after a Russian attack that heavily damaged a residential building in Sloviansk, Ukraine, on Sept. 7, 2022. It’s at night that residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk are most afraid, when rocket and artillery attacks happen more frequently. Shells and rockets slam into gardens and apartment buildings, sending chunks of masonry and shards of glass hurtling through the darkness.
    Associated Press

  • FILE - Mariia Ruban, 92, sits on a chair as she talks about the moments of the explosion next to her house that damaged its roof and windows after a Russian attack in Sloviansk, Ukraine, on Sept. 6, 2022. It's at night that residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk are most afraid, when rocket and artillery attacks happen more frequently. Shells and rockets slam into gardens and apartment buildings, sending chunks of masonry and shards of glass hurtling through the darkness.


    FILE – Mariia Ruban, 92, sits on a chair as she talks about the moments of the explosion next to her house that damaged its roof and windows after a Russian attack in Sloviansk, Ukraine, on Sept. 6, 2022. It’s at night that residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk are most afraid, when rocket and artillery attacks happen more frequently. Shells and rockets slam into gardens and apartment buildings, sending chunks of masonry and shards of glass hurtling through the darkness.
    Associated Press

  • FILE - Firefighters work to extinguish a fire as they look for potential victims after a Russian attack that heavily damaged a residential building in Sloviansk, Ukraine, on Sept. 7, 2022. It's at night that residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk are most afraid, when rocket and artillery attacks happen more frequently. Shells and rockets slam into gardens and apartment buildings, sending chunks of masonry and shards of glass hurtling through the darkness.


    FILE – Firefighters work to extinguish a fire as they look for potential victims after a Russian attack that heavily damaged a residential building in Sloviansk, Ukraine, on Sept. 7, 2022. It’s at night that residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk are most afraid, when rocket and artillery attacks happen more frequently. Shells and rockets slam into gardens and apartment buildings, sending chunks of masonry and shards of glass hurtling through the darkness.
    Associated Press

  • FILE - Raisa Smielkova, 75, looks up as she sits in front of the site were firefighters work to extinguish a fire as they look for potential victims after a Russian attack that heavily damaged a residential building in Sloviansk, Ukraine, on Sept. 7, 2022. Smielkova was sleeping at the time of the explosion. "You would be a fool not to be scared by this," she says. "If someone asks, I say yes, I am scared."


    FILE – Raisa Smielkova, 75, looks up as she sits in front of the site were firefighters work to extinguish a fire as they look for potential victims after a Russian attack that heavily damaged a residential building in Sloviansk, Ukraine, on Sept. 7, 2022. Smielkova was sleeping at the time of the explosion. “You would be a fool not to be scared by this,” she says. “If someone asks, I say yes, I am scared.”
    Associated Press

  • SLOVIANSK, Ukraine — It’s at night that residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk are most afraid, when rocket and artillery attacks happen more frequently. Shells and rockets slam into gardens and apartment buildings, sending chunks of masonry and shards of glass hurtling through the darkness.

    Little more than 11 kilometers (7 miles) southwest of the front line and within artillery range of Russian forces, Sloviansk has sustained increasingly frequent attacks. The city is considered a strategic target in Moscow’s ambition to seize all of Donetsk province, a largely Russian-speaking area in eastern Ukraine that makes up part of the Donbas, Ukraine’s industrial heartland.

    On Wednesday, firefighters sifted through the still-smoldering rubble of an apartment building, looking for possible victims after a predawn strike collapsed part of the structure. After hours of searching, using a crane to remove slabs of concrete and reach down to the basement, they emerged with a white body bag. Relatives waiting anxiously nearby said they were also searching for an elderly couple who lived on the third floor.

    ‘What is happening now is not just scary, it’s gruesome,’ said 75-year-old Raisa Smielkova, who lives in another part of the same building and whose apartment suffered only minor damage. This war, she said, is worse than the previous one in 2014, when Ukrainian forces battled Russian-backed separatists. ‘There is more destruction. Everything is worse. Just everything.’

    Relying on their pensions to survive, she and her husband can’t afford to move away to a safer part of Ukraine, Smielkova said.

    ‘If we get killed, we get killed, what can I do?,’ she said. ‘Some are saying to me: are not you afraid? And I answer: Of course I’m afraid. Only the fools are not afraid, the rest are afraid just like me.’

    Just over 24 hours earlier in another part of the city, the force of the blast from another strike threw 92-year-old Maria Ruban out of bed and onto the floor. She doesn’t remember how long she lay there, alone and helpless, covered in dust.


            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            

     

    ‘I lost consciousness and there was nobody around, nobody could help me,’ she said, recounting her ordeal through heavy sighs and some tears. She eventually picked herself up but couldn’t get out of the house – the force of the blast had warped the door shut.

    Ruban has lived in her small house in the southern part of Sloviansk since 1957. Now 92, she survived both World War II and the Ukrainian war of 2014. But she said this war is like she’s never experienced before.

    ‘I have lived through everything, even starvation. But I have never seen anything like this, like what happened today,’ she said, standing in her garden with help from a rough wooden cane. Behind her, relatives and neighbors hammered plastic sheeting over her damaged roof and picked twisted chunks of shrapnel out of her tomato plant beds to the distant sound of pounding artillery.

    It had been around midnight on Monday night when Ruban lay down and covered herself with a duvet. ‘I thought: ‘now they will start their attacks,’ because they attack at this time,’ she said. She wasn’t wrong.

            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            

     

    Now she worries about how she’ll make it through Ukraine’s bitterly cold winter, with a damaged roof and blasted-out windows.

    ‘Oh God, please help me so the roof can be covered for the winter,’ she cried. ‘Who knows how long I will live for.’ Ruban had lost her windows to explosions in the 2014 war too, she said. ‘All I know is repairs, to live and to repair.’

    Across the street, a projectile struck a neighbor’s yard, leveling his home and damaging several other residences. The neighbor, who didn’t want to give his name, had been sleeping next to a window in a front room. His roof was blasted away, his walls crumbled and an apple tree in his front garden was blown clear across the street. But he escaped without so much as a scratch.

    Taking a break from digging through the rubble to find his identity documents, he peered into the large crater where his front garden used to be, the bottom filled with water from overnight rainfall.

    He had been thinking of planting potatoes this year, he said wryly, but now perhaps he should turn to raising fish instead.

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    Follow all AP stories on the war in Ukraine at

            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            
            



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