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Underground misery at dank Ukraine bomb shelter

August 5, 2014

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — For the people huddled in a dank and chilly bomb shelter Tuesday, the question of who was responsible was less important than the fact of their misery.

Two journalists from The Associated Press joined Donetsk residents who spent the night in the shelter as fighting between government forces and separatist insurgents closed in on the outskirts of the largest rebel-held city.

The rebels accuse Ukrainian forces of conducting a brutal bombing campaign against Donetsk; the government denies using artillery against residential neighborhoods. Either way, many Donetsk residents have been spending their nights underground in the hopes that they’ll be safer.

The people wrapping themselves in blankets Tuesday said it mattered little who was responsible for the bombing. Some glumly read newspapers to pass the time, and one read a poem she wrote about her neighborhood’s ordeal.

“Bombs and rockets; how much more can we take?” Galina Dudkina recited. “Empty streets, the cries of dogs, the meowing of cats that were left behind.”

In the morning, they emerged to face shell-damaged buildings. Darya Sharapova wept as she recalled shelling on Sunday that killed her husband.

“Shrapnel punctured my husband’s heart,” she cried. “I don’t know what to do; I just don’t know how to live now.”

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