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Life in Luhansk getting back on track but militia bolsters defenses

September 18, 2014, 20:13 UTC+3 LUGANSK
Pharmacies and hospitals have resumed their services to the population, with medications provided to certain residents for free
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© ITAR-TASS/Zurab Djavakhadze

LUHANSK, September 18. /ITAR-TASS/. Despite a ceasefire, the militia in the Ukrainian eastern city of Luhansk continues to bolster its defenses and to recruit volunteers.

“We are prepared to repel any attack but now significant work is underway rather than just recruitment. We go on with building fortifications,” a militia fighter told ITAR-TASS, commenting on the Ukrainian battalion Aidar’s attempts to violate the ceasefire and break the militias’ defense.

Nobody can get rid of a feeling that Luhansk is a “frontline city.” The state buildings, including the building of the government of the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), are guarded by armed militiamen in camouflage. On the way to Luhansk, drivers have to pass through several checkpoints where documents are checked and cars are inspected.

Infographics UN: Ukrainian Refugees UN: Ukrainian Refugees
Since the beginning of the military operation in eastern Ukraine hundreds of thousands Ukrainians left their homes. Infographics by ITAR-TASS
Burnt-out military vehicles on the road to Luhansk and multiple broken windows in the city remind of recent combat actions.

An official from the city administration has said that life in Luhansk is coming back to normal with residents returning to their homes — schools, shops and markets are open, municipal transport resumes its operation and mobile communications are restored.

“The city has no shortage in food but we await humanitarian aid from Russia,” he said.

Pharmacies and hospitals have resumed their services to the population, with medications provided to certain residents for free.

Most of the residents have no work and no money as a result, to speak nothing about elderly and low-income layers of the population. Those who work get their reward in field ration instead of money.

Water supplies to residential areas are another problem in the city.

“In the course of military actions water-supply facilities were severely damaged,” the official said. “Emergency teams are working to restore them in order to provide the city with water and central heating till freezing temperatures.”

Despite regular power outages, all social facilities have been provided with independent electric power supply units, in particular schools, police stations, emergencies departments, communication centres and traffic lights.

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