In pounded Sloviansk, 'the best thing is to leave' | War in Ukraine

&With pounded Sloviansk, “”best to leave” | War in Ukraine

A woman walks through the debris of businesses destroyed by a Russian strike on Sunday in Sloviansk.

Orange gloves, broom in one hand and a cigarette at the edge of his lips, Andriï Gerassimenko collects debris Monday at the central market of Sloviansk, largely devastated by a fire caused the day before by a series of Russian strikes on this city of Donbass, in the x27;eastern Ukraine.

At the time of the fall of a rocket that set fire to the market, I had returned home, Thank goodness, the 38-year-old says while expressing concern, as Russian forces gain ground.

I believe what awaits us is going to be even worse, I have already thought from Sloviansk, where the front line is closing in after the fall of Lyssychantsk on Sunday evening, preceded by that of the twin city of Sievierodonetsk, located about 50 miles to the east.

The two towns fell after weeks of fierce fighting and shelling that largely destroyed both city-states.

In an almost deserted market alley on Monday, Viktoria Koloty, a 33-year-old woman, said she had already evacuated her children from Sloviansk, but said she did not have time to pack all her belongings.

That's why I've come back to take whatever we can from home. Nothing good is going to happen, she says, the best thing is to leave Sloviansk, pounded by the Russian army for more than a week.

On Sunday alone, a deluge of rockets and other explosive devices killed at least 6 people and injured 19.

This market in Sloviansk was heavily damaged by a Russian strike on Sunday.

Natalia Boutok had just left the market when the explosion happened: I heard "boom! boom!" and saw a fire, says this woman who was among the few vendors returning to the market on Monday, with ginger, lettuce and a little tobacco on her stall.

Doubtful, she wonders how the situation will evolve and what to do. I hope the future will be better, she said smiling, big glasses on the tip of her nose.

In the meantime, residents continue to collect debris charred in the alleys of the market, as others are doing in other parts of the city where rockets fell the day before.

In the courtyard of her small, charred house, strewn with rubble after the roof and part of the brick walls collapsed, Valentina Stelmakh says she was saved because she was in the basement of the building with his brother and sister-in-law at the time of the violent explosion.

What are we guilty of? But why do they want to kill us? Stop! cries this 64-year-old woman bursting into tears. The chickens, the dog and the cats were killed, but what did they do? she blurts not far from a lifeless rooster in the middle of debris.

A resident of Sloviansk shows the fragment of a Russian rocket that fell in his neighborhood on July 4.

His neighbor, whose house was spared, opens the gate and takes out a large piece of metal with the end warped by the heat: It's a Hurricane , he says in reference to a category of Russian rockets, part of which he says he found after the rocket exploded on his street on Sunday.

To Kramatorsk, residents were also busy Monday picking up debris in this city of the Donetsk region coveted like its neighbor Sloviansk by Russian forces, where several rockets have fallen in recent days.

A rocket fall on Sunday evening caused a three-meter crater in a small street where several houses were damaged and workers were repairing electrical cables. Passing by, a cowardly man: Gotta show that to Putin.

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