Ukraine: Donbas - Fall & Winter

Europe’s forgotten war


On 21 November 2013, a wave of protests in Kyiv that would later become known as the Euromaidan sparked a series of events followed by Russia’s annexation of Crimea and a war in the east of the country.

Eight years later, the war continues.

In the frontline village of Opytne, across from the destroyed Donetsk airport, only 36 residents now survive, out of more than a thousand who used to live here prior to the war.

Aleksandr, 86, says that life in the war zone is beautiful because everyone helps each other.

“When I don’t hear the sound of shooting, I feel like there is something missing,” he tells Al Jazeera.

The armed conflict has resulted in a total of at least 3,393 civilian deaths and more than 7000 casualties since 2014.

Between 1 January and 30 September 2021 alone, 18 people have been killed, including three children.

A dire humanitarian crisis along the contact line also continues to impact civilians on both sides of the conflict.

According to the Kyiv-based EU Humanitarian Aid, some 3.4 million of the people in need live in Eastern Ukraine, including 1.3 million elderly persons and 442,000 individuals with disabilities.

Elderly, vulnerable and disabled people are often the only ones who had no choice but to remain living in the war zone.


Ukraine: Donbas - Fall & Winter