First Valentyna’s gas was cut when Russia’s invasion came to Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region. Then shelling destroyed power lines. By August, she and her daughter Natalia no longer had water.
As fighting intensified making the battle for the city the longest and most grinding of the nearly year-long war — the pair replaced gas and electricity with wood and coal.
But when it became too dangerous to reach the well in their eastern neighbourhood, which has seen some of the worst fighting, they finally undertook the treacherous journey across the Bakhmutovka river to flee the besieged city.
“A week ago it was possible to live there, but not anymore,” said Natalia, 52, as she and her 73-year-old mother waited at a humanitarian hub to be evacuated.
They are just two among some 8,000 Bakhmut residents whose precarious existence in the city has been thrown into even greater uncertainty since water supplies…