Life is back to normal in Sloviansk
Sloviansk nowadays is a city of contrasts. Evidence of fighting is still visible there and the withdrawing separatists have left not only a huge network of trenches near Siyemionovka (city’s suburbs), but even toothbrushes in the field washbasins they had organised. Traces of machine gun series make it possible to imagine what their retreat was like. The area of the psychiatric hospital, shelled with heavy weaponry, is also ruined. In the centre of the city, which, on the other hand, was surrendered by the separatists without putting up a fight, life has returned to normal surprisingly quickly. Around the statue of Lenin (standing but wearing a yellow-and-blue scarf), there are families strolling with prams, elderly pensioners sitting on benches painted in national colours and teenagers roller skating or husking sunflower seeds.
Conversations with people reveal, however, that not everyone is happy seeing the Ukrainian army arrive in the city. Many residents of Sloviansk breathed a sigh of relief after the escape of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic, but the soldiers of the Kiev-1 battalion are prohibited from leaving the base individually and unarmed – not without reason, it is said.