Regions along both sides of Ukraine's war at risk of becoming ghost towns
Natalie Carney in Marynka, Ukraine
Europe;Marynka, Ukraine

Seven Year old Liza's singing echoed out from the light brown brick building of the Marynka Centre of Creativity.

Inside, the bright colours of children's paintings and handicrafts were a welcome contrast to the stark streets of the war weary town.

Marynka now sits on a Ukrainian front line, after being separated from Donetsk city, when it was captured by pro-Russian separatists back in 2014.

Offering programs, such as bead-working, embroidery and singing, the centre has provided an important escape for children living through the war says its director, Alina Kasse.

"We need to help them fulfill their dreams, she tells CGTN. "To help them be creative. Creative children take these war horrors much easier."


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Town destroyed by fighting

Yet the fighting is never far away. The centre was hit by shelling in 2014 forcing it to close for some time says Kasse.

"Some of our teachers stayed in their basements, others left. From a town with 10,000 inhabitants, which had working factories, wheat elevator, now we have destroyed the infrastructure. There are no jobs, there is not much to do and people are still leaving. Now we have around 4000."

This is a huge concern for many communities along the frontlines, especially as tensions between Moscow and the West over hundreds of thousands of Russian troops on Ukraine's borders, continue.


The Ukrainian town of Marynka has been destroyed by previous tensions. /CGTN

The Ukrainian town of Marynka has been destroyed by previous tensions. /CGTN

Much more displacement possible

According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, a renewed conflict in Ukraine could force massive displacement of two million people living on both sides of the conflict line.

The fighting around Marynka over the years has left houses destroyed or abandoned, shops shut and streets relatively empty.

What was a once a flourishing suburb of the city of Donetsk is on the verge of becoming a ghost town ,many residents fear.


The fighting around Marynka has left many houses and buildings left abandoned. /CGTN

The fighting around Marynka has left many houses and buildings left abandoned. /CGTN


Residents leaving

Resident Elena is leaving for a village some two kilometres away.

"There are no job places," she tells CGTN in front of an abandoned house with a collapsed roof, due to shelling. "There is s a huge difference between what it was before and what we have now. People have their houses destroyed. Yes, some have managed to repair some of them, but it is still very different."

She says the price of food and coal has almost doubled making life very hard.

"I am going to run out of here," she says. "I can't take it anymore. My nerves are totally ruined."

There are no official census figures, but the drop in population is noticeable says Kasse back at the centre.

While diplomatic discussions to try and ease tensions continues in the capitol Kyiv, with what appears to be little progress, those living on the frontlines are paying the highest price.

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