Photo by Anastasia Taylor-Lind @anastasiatl | Anna Kirichenko just moved into a new house in Toretsk, eastern Ukraine, together with her husband, Andrey, and 3-year-old daughter, Ksyusha. The family didn’t move by choice, but by necessity. About a month ago they were having a barbecue in the back yard of their old house when a shell exploded in the garden. It was the final sign that the neighbourhood was too unsafe to stay in any longer. So they moved, but not far, only a few kilometers away. The place where they live now is a bit better, but not significantly safer.
It’s always hard for an outsider to understand why people, especially young middle-class people, keep living in war zones. The simple exercise in this case is to imagine that you have to leave your home tomorrow, forever, with only one suitcase or what you can fit in the car, and to try to answer all the questions that would arise. Would your parents agree to go too, or will you have to leave them behind? What about grandparents? What are you going to do with your pets?
It has been more than four years since the war in Ukraine began. The front line is static and life around it is pretty normal—or so it seems. People in conflict zones get used to danger. Like everywhere else, they work, cook, have fun, fall in love, get married and raise children. Text by Alisa Sopova @sopova.alisa, a Ukrainian journalist from Donetsk. #5kfromthefrontline