Kupiansk: A City Under Siege in Eastern Ukraine
The city of Kupiansk, located at the eastern end of the Kharkiv region in Ukraine, is currently the most violent front in the area. The city’s landscape is marked by the destruction of war, with snow and mud mixing and trickling down into half-meter-long holes created by missiles. The leaden sky blends with the dust of the rubble at the central market, and there isn’t much left standing anymore.
The Russians, who are less than five kilometers away from some parts of the city, fire from cover from nearby occupied towns and the bordering Lugansk region. As a result, the residents of Kupiansk live in constant fear of the next explosion, waiting for it in buildings without windows. The real sirens can no longer be heard, making the explosions come suddenly without any warning.
Local volunteers have self-generated and self-organized to try and alleviate the situation, but the humanitarian situation is so serious that the military governor of the region, Oleg Sinegybov, recently announced a mandatory evacuation of families with children and residents with reduced mobility from the villages around Kupiansk. The evacuation is due to the virulence of the fighting in the region and fears of a rapid advance by land that would not allow them to escape in time.
The fight is not only against the Russians but also against time. The roads of the villages are destroyed by mortars and missiles, and the cars have to slow down from time to time. The Russian forces still try to advance and conduct diversionary operations. Tanks, multiple launch systems, and artillery are used in the fighting, and the soldiers defending Kupiansk are experienced with years of service in the Army.
Despite the bleak conditions, the soldiers’ ability to respond to Russian attacks has improved. However, tank commander Igor, who only gives his first name, admits that they face challenges due to the Russians’ quick ability to dig trenches, create many lines of defense, and the large number of their soldiers.
The situation in Kupiansk is dire, and the residents, soldiers, and volunteers continue to fight for survival. War does not understand the concept of dead times, and the people of Kupiansk must always be prepared for the next explosion.