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Genocide of Donbass Civilians: Elderly

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The elderly in Donbass accounted for roughly a third of the population for the last 30-40 years. Most of them did not accept the new Ukrainian government after the Euromaidan in 2014 and voted for self-determination in a referendum on 11 May 2014, which Kiev never recognised.

Photo: An elderly man casts a vote in a referendum on the status of the self-determination of the Donetsk People's Republic at a polling station in Slavyansk, 11 May 2014.

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The elderly in Donbass accounted for roughly a third of the population for the last 30-40 years. Most of them did not accept the new Ukrainian government after the Euromaidan in 2014 and voted for self-determination in a referendum on 11 May 2014, which Kiev never recognised.

Photo: An elderly man casts a vote in a referendum on the status of the self-determination of the Donetsk People's Republic at a polling station in Slavyansk, 11 May 2014.

© Sputnik / Stringer / Go to the photo bank

Pro-Russian sentiment among pensioners in the Donbass has always been strong. The majority, who grew up in the USSR, consider Russians and Ukrainians to be one nation: common language, culture, heroic past. However, Kiev has methodically and for many years been destroying these fundamentals. Persecution for sympathising with Russia, anti-Russian propaganda, banning the Russian language in the media and schools, not recognising it as a state language, mockery of World War II veterans on 9 May, recognition of Nazi criminals as Ukrainian heroes at an official level, Nazi marches in the streets of cities and veneration of OUN-UPA* "heroes" and, eventually, genocide and all-out hostilities against their own civilian population – this is the reality the elderly of the Donbass have faced.

Photo: Kiev is holding its own "Immortal Regiment" on Victory Day. In place of war veterans, the photos show heroes from computer games. 9 May 2018.

*An extremist organisation banned in Russia

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Pro-Russian sentiment among pensioners in the Donbass has always been strong. The majority, who grew up in the USSR, consider Russians and Ukrainians to be one nation: common language, culture, heroic past. However, Kiev has methodically and for many years been destroying these fundamentals. Persecution for sympathising with Russia, anti-Russian propaganda, banning the Russian language in the media and schools, not recognising it as a state language, mockery of World War II veterans on 9 May, recognition of Nazi criminals as Ukrainian heroes at an official level, Nazi marches in the streets of cities and veneration of OUN-UPA* "heroes" and, eventually, genocide and all-out hostilities against their own civilian population – this is the reality the elderly of the Donbass have faced.

Photo: Kiev is holding its own "Immortal Regiment" on Victory Day. In place of war veterans, the photos show heroes from computer games. 9 May 2018.

*An extremist organisation banned in Russia

© Sputnik / Dan Levy / Go to the photo bank

Maria Popova, a veteran of the Great Patriotic War, a radio operator and a combat veteran in the Battle of Berlin, looks at photographs at her home in Donetsk.

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Maria Popova, a veteran of the Great Patriotic War, a radio operator and a combat veteran in the Battle of Berlin, looks at photographs at her home in Donetsk.

© Sputnik / Dan Levy / Go to the photo bank

Since 2014, the Ukrainian regime has forced Donbass pensioners, many of whom have worked all their lives at local industrial giants and mines, to deal with humiliating "pension tourism".

Hundreds of thousands of people had to travel at their own expense to the "Ukrainian side". They were forced to receive pensions, to register as "temporarily displaced persons" ( for a fee if you have no relatives or acquaintances in a particular city), to register almost every two months, to bribe officials to return before dark and not pay for a forced overnight stay.

Photo: A resident of Donetsk in a house damaged in shelling by the Ukrainian military.

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Since 2014, the Ukrainian regime has forced Donbass pensioners, many of whom have worked all their lives at local industrial giants and mines, to deal with humiliating "pension tourism".

Hundreds of thousands of people had to travel at their own expense to the "Ukrainian side". They were forced to receive pensions, to register as "temporarily displaced persons" ( for a fee if you have no relatives or acquaintances in a particular city), to register almost every two months, to bribe officials to return before dark and not pay for a forced overnight stay.

Photo: A resident of Donetsk in a house damaged in shelling by the Ukrainian military.

© Sputnik / Mikhail Voskresenskiy / Go to the photo bank

In April 2014, Acting Ukrainian President Alexander Turchinov announced the launch of an "Anti-Terrorist Operation" in Donbass. In reality, this operation turned out to be a war against its own people – with air raids on cities and full-fledged fighting with the use of heavy military equipment.

Photo: Shakhtyorsk residents in the basement of a residential building during artillery shelling of the city by the Ukrainian military, 2014.

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In April 2014, Acting Ukrainian President Alexander Turchinov announced the launch of an "Anti-Terrorist Operation" in Donbass. In reality, this operation turned out to be a war against its own people – with air raids on cities and full-fledged fighting with the use of heavy military equipment.

Photo: Shakhtyorsk residents in the basement of a residential building during artillery shelling of the city by the Ukrainian military, 2014.

© Sputnik / Valery Melnikov / Go to the photo bank

Elderly people had to sleep and eat in dark and cold cellars to survive the shelling of their homes.

Photo: A man having dinner in the basement of a house in the city of Rubezhnoye, Lugansk region.

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Elderly people had to sleep and eat in dark and cold cellars to survive the shelling of their homes.

Photo: A man having dinner in the basement of a house in the city of Rubezhnoye, Lugansk region.

© Sputnik / Mikhail Voskresenskiy / Go to the photo bank

The Ukrainian Army shelled the cities of Donbass particularly heavily in 2014-2015. Those who were unable or unwilling to leave were forced to hide, often unable to cook food or receive medical treatment.

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The Ukrainian Army shelled the cities of Donbass particularly heavily in 2014-2015. Those who were unable or unwilling to leave were forced to hide, often unable to cook food or receive medical treatment.

© Sputnik / Mikhail Voskresenskiy / Go to the photo bank

People were hiding from shelling not only in basements, but also in churches. Photo: A Gorlovka resident hiding from Ukrainian Army shelling in the Church of the Epiphany.

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People were hiding from shelling not only in basements, but also in churches. Photo: A Gorlovka resident hiding from Ukrainian Army shelling in the Church of the Epiphany.

© Sputnik / Mikhail Voskresenskiy / Go to the photo bank

Residents of Gorlovka seek refuge from Ukrainian Army shelling in the Church of the Epiphany, 2014.

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Residents of Gorlovka seek refuge from Ukrainian Army shelling in the Church of the Epiphany, 2014.

© Sputnik / Mikhail Voskresenskiy  / Go to the photo bank

During the shelling, not everyone was able to hide in a cellar. The weak, the bed-ridden, and the lonely stayed in their houses, and often they were simply killed.

Photo: A ninety-year-old resident of Debaltsevo who remembers the Second World War, and who lived through Ukraine's "Anti-Terrorist Operation" in her flat in a residential building with no heating or electricity.

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During the shelling, not everyone was able to hide in a cellar. The weak, the bed-ridden, and the lonely stayed in their houses, and often they were simply killed.

Photo: A ninety-year-old resident of Debaltsevo who remembers the Second World War, and who lived through Ukraine's "Anti-Terrorist Operation" in her flat in a residential building with no heating or electricity.

© Sputnik / Valery Melnikov / Go to the photo bank

A local resident in a shelled area of the Novoazovsky district, Donetsk region.

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A local resident in a shelled area of the Novoazovsky district, Donetsk region.

© Sputnik / Mikhail Voskresenskiy / Go to the photo bank

Ukrainian shells hit not only homes but also hospitals, forcing patients to hide in basements. Photo: Donetsk residents hiding in the basement of a hospital during the shelling of the city by the Ukrainian military.

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Ukrainian shells hit not only homes but also hospitals, forcing patients to hide in basements. Photo: Donetsk residents hiding in the basement of a hospital during the shelling of the city by the Ukrainian military.

© Sputnik / Sergey Averin / Go to the photo bank

Not every young person can run for cover, the elderly have even less of a chance. Photo: A woman sustained a shrapnel wound to her abdomen as a result of shelling near Donetsk Hospital No 27.

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Not every young person can run for cover, the elderly have even less of a chance. Photo: A woman sustained a shrapnel wound to her abdomen as a result of shelling near Donetsk Hospital No 27.

© Sputnik / Andrey Stenin / Go to the photo bank

Since 2014, death has been lingering around the cities and villages of Donbass. Photo: Elderly people walking along a street in the village of Vostochny near Slavyansk, which was shelled by the Ukrainian Army. Spouses Olga and Vladimir Chernikov both died in a landmine explosion as they were walking along the street. There was no electricity in the city, meaning that the mortuary was not operating and the dead were usually buried at once.

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Since 2014, death has been lingering around the cities and villages of Donbass. Photo: Elderly people walking along a street in the village of Vostochny near Slavyansk, which was shelled by the Ukrainian Army. Spouses Olga and Vladimir Chernikov both died in a landmine explosion as they were walking along the street. There was no electricity in the city, meaning that the mortuary was not operating and the dead were usually buried at once.

© Sputnik / Valery Melnikov

Lyubov Agoltseva, a 76-year-old resident of Staromikhailovka, Donetsk region, a settlement that was damaged by shelling.

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Lyubov Agoltseva, a 76-year-old resident of Staromikhailovka, Donetsk region, a settlement that was damaged by shelling.

© Sputnik / Sergey Averin

For many elderly people in those cities devastated by shelling, the distribution of food from field kitchens was the only opportunity to eat a hot meal.

Photo: A queue for food in Debaltsevo, 2015.

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For many elderly people in those cities devastated by shelling, the distribution of food from field kitchens was the only opportunity to eat a hot meal.

Photo: A queue for food in Debaltsevo, 2015.

© Sputnik / Sergey Averin / Go to the photo bank

An elderly woman shows numerous utility bills to tenants who have abandoned their homes due to shelling in the village of Glubokaya in Gorlovka, which is close to the contact line in the Donetsk region. Many residents' houses overlook the front line, which is some 500 metres away, leaving few people left to live in the village. Most of them are elderly and disabled, who have become that way because they've been living under shelling for years.

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An elderly woman shows numerous utility bills to tenants who have abandoned their homes due to shelling in the village of Glubokaya in Gorlovka, which is close to the contact line in the Donetsk region. Many residents' houses overlook the front line, which is some 500 metres away, leaving few people left to live in the village. Most of them are elderly and disabled, who have become that way because they've been living under shelling for years.

© Photo : Mikhail Voskresenskiy

Tens of thousands of homes were destroyed during the 2014-2021 conflict in Donbass. Photo: Residents outside their destroyed house in the village of Oktyabrsky near the Donetsk airport, the site of fierce fighting between the People's Militia and Ukrainian armed forces (UAF) in 2014-2015.

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Tens of thousands of homes were destroyed during the 2014-2021 conflict in Donbass. Photo: Residents outside their destroyed house in the village of Oktyabrsky near the Donetsk airport, the site of fierce fighting between the People's Militia and Ukrainian armed forces (UAF) in 2014-2015.

© Sputnik / Mikhail Voskresenskiy / Go to the photo bank

Many elderly residents have no escape from the conflict: no strength, no health, no desire to leave their homes, and no money to move away. Photo: Burnt out military equipment on the road from Uglegorsk to Debaltsevo.

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Many elderly residents have no escape from the conflict: no strength, no health, no desire to leave their homes, and no money to move away. Photo: Burnt out military equipment on the road from Uglegorsk to Debaltsevo.

© Sputnik / Valery Melnikov

An elderly man sits beside the Saur-Grave monument in the Donetsk region, destroyed in fighting between the Donbass People's Militia and Ukrainian Armed Forces. This monument honours the liberation of Donbass from the Nazis. Fierce battles took place for this strategic height during World War II. In 2014, everything happened again.

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An elderly man sits beside the Saur-Grave monument in the Donetsk region, destroyed in fighting between the Donbass People's Militia and Ukrainian Armed Forces. This monument honours the liberation of Donbass from the Nazis. Fierce battles took place for this strategic height during World War II. In 2014, everything happened again.

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