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Destruction, And Signs Of Renewal, In Debaltseve

One year ago, Russia-backed separatists won control of the city of Debaltseve from Ukrainian government troops. The fighting left the city in ruins. Many residents fled, and those who remained have often struggled to survive without heat, running water, or reliable access to food. In the past year, some residents have reconstructed their homes and workplaces, but the work has only just begun. (RFE/RL photographer Petr Shelomovskiy)


A man pulls a wagon past a destroyed building in Debaltseve.
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A man pulls a wagon past a destroyed building in Debaltseve.

A view of the street through a blown-out window and door
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A view of the street through a blown-out window and door

A construction worker inside a destroyed building
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A construction worker inside a destroyed building

Workers clear rubble from a rooftop.
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Workers clear rubble from a rooftop.

A motorcade of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
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A motorcade of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)

Svetlana Ivanovna, a widow, gets her documents ready at a humanitarian aid distribution center.
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Svetlana Ivanovna, a widow, gets her documents ready at a humanitarian aid distribution center.

A voucher for humanitarian aid
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A voucher for humanitarian aid

Inside an aid distribution center
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Inside an aid distribution center

Locals wait to receive their monthly packages of food aid.
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Locals wait to receive their monthly packages of food aid.

Basic food supplies brought from Russia are repackaged at the aid distribution center.
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Basic food supplies brought from Russia are repackaged at the aid distribution center.

Residents line up to receive food aid. 
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Residents line up to receive food aid. 

Where houses once stood, only rubble remains. 
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Where houses once stood, only rubble remains. 

Svetlana Marchenko works as a nurse in the village of Nikishine, near Debaltseve.
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Svetlana Marchenko works as a nurse in the village of Nikishine, near Debaltseve.

Marchenko stands inside a health clinic damaged by fighting. 
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Marchenko stands inside a health clinic damaged by fighting. 

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Only one kindergarten is still running in Debaltseve. Several others are undergoing repairs. 
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Only one kindergarten is still running in Debaltseve. Several others are undergoing repairs. 

Nap time at the only functioning kindergarten in the city
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Nap time at the only functioning kindergarten in the city

Restoration work is under way at this school gym.
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Restoration work is under way at this school gym.

Polina Ivanovna Demianenko, 78, in front of her destroyed house in the village of Nikishine
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Polina Ivanovna Demianenko, 78, in front of her destroyed house in the village of Nikishine

Demianenko stands inside the ruins of her house. 
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Demianenko stands inside the ruins of her house. 

Vera's apartment was badly damaged a year ago, but has been renovated with financial help from her daughter.
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Vera's apartment was badly damaged a year ago, but has been renovated with financial help from her daughter.

Raisa Kozakova, 84, shared her apartment for a time with eight people in need of housing. The others have now returned to their own homes.
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Raisa Kozakova, 84, shared her apartment for a time with eight people in need of housing. The others have now returned to their own homes.

Raisa used to live here. The roof was wrecked by shelling, which in turn allowed rain and snow to damage the house. 
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Raisa used to live here. The roof was wrecked by shelling, which in turn allowed rain and snow to damage the house. 

A worker at a railroad crossing
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A worker at a railroad crossing

An empty hall at the Debaltseve train station
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An empty hall at the Debaltseve train station

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