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Zaitsevo village, is caught between the opposing sides. As hostilities between the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) continue, the locals sleep to the sound of gunfire and use their cellars and basements as bomb shelters. They say they simply have nowhere else to go, so they continue to live in this no man’s land, where near constant shelling puts their lives in the line every day.

Among Zaitsevo’s residents is 7-year-old Masha, she lives with her family, 4 generations of women, her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. They all grew up here and consider the village their home, a place where families are so deeply rooted that moving away to become refugees is unthinkable. They have no choice but to do the best they can to try and maintain a measure of normality in life. Windows have to be left open so they aren’t shattered by explosions. The Internet provides their only contact with neighbours for local news and mutual support.

Masha attends her first grade classes every day, even though her school has twice been hit by artillery fire. To find calm when the shelling starts, she plays with her puppy and has learned to fit her daily schedule around the regular bombardment. Her fondest dream is that, one day, the war will end.


 

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