‘I’m just 33 kilos’: Frontline villages going hungry amid Ukraine war

An elderly villager in Ukraine has claimed locals have been going hungry amid the conflict. 

Galina, 75, is from Lebyazhe, around 50 kilometres southeast of Kharkiv.

Russian forces did not reach the village, but it was on the frontline of fighting as Ukrainian troops tried to defend the country’s second-largest city. 

Now, invading troops have been pushed back after a swift Kyiv counteroffensive saw around 8,000 square kilometres of land reclaimed.

“At first we had nothing, no stores were open, and we didn’t have any food,” said Galina, fighting back tears. “Now I’m just 33 kilos.”

“It’s tragic. They destroyed the whole village. It was so nice before. Now it’s destroyed.”

Ukraine’s farmland is famed for its rich black soil and considered a breadbasket for the world, but on Thursday, after months of war Galina was among residents of the farming village queueing for food.

Boxes — containing items such as pasta, rice, beans, canned meat and oil — were distributed by the UN World Food Programme.

The boxes were too heavy for some of the older residents. They were helped by neighbours who put the boxes in wheelbarrows or on bicycles.

But food isn’t the villagers’ only concern. As winter approaches, many are concerned about energy supplies.

“Yes, six months without electricity. And now already three months without gas, but we’ll make it somehow,” said Lyubov Polushkyna, another Lebyazhe resident.


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