Sunday 24 September 2017

Ukraine's industrial heartland is now a husk - just ask 'Maria'

Russian President Vladimir Putin Photo: Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS
Russian President Vladimir Putin Photo: Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

Fergal Keane

They appear as a blazing expanse of curious eyes. Field after field of sunflowers, occasionally interspersed with wheat, on the road to Adiivka just inside the Government side of the front line. We are a few miles from the front but the farmers are still working these fields. They must.

Out here on the far edge of world's concerns nobody looks to the Government to rescue them. There are chimneys still pumping out noxious smoke from the coke and chemical plants, and mine dumps looming over the green and golden landscape, and the checkpoints, machine gun nests, artillery pits and trenches of a war that knows no end.

Ten thousand people are dead. Many more have been maimed and traumatised. Hundreds of thousands are displaced. This Donbass region, once the industrial heartland of Ukraine, has been turned into a husk of its former self.

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