In Ukraine’s Donbas Region, Life Amid the Ravages of a Forgotten War

Maria Gorpynych sits in her home in the government-controlled village of Opytne, in eastern Ukraine, Nov. 25, 2018 (Photo by Natalie Vikhrov).
Maria Gorpynych sits in her home in the government-controlled village of Opytne, in eastern Ukraine, Nov. 25, 2018 (Photo by Natalie Vikhrov).

OPYTNE, Ukraine—One afternoon in January 2015, 78-year-old Maria Gorpynych stood on her porch and anxiously watched her son Victor run the short distance to the home of a neighboring family. At the time, Opytne, located in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, was caught in the middle of heavy fighting between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian soldiers. Victor wanted to help the neighbors wrap a gas pipe in rubber to protect it from shelling. Less than five minutes after he left, Gorpynych saw one of the neighbors running back toward her house. He came bearing bad news: A mine had detonated […]

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