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World Ukraine: Near the southern front, a bicycle daycare to wait for the return of peace

13:30  03 october  2022
13:30  03 october  2022 Source:   lepoint.fr

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  Ukraine: près du front Sud, une garderie à vélos pour attendre le retour de la paix © AFP

i ls are green, red, black, blue ... all abandoned. In Zelenodolsk, a small Ukrainian town near the South Front, still bombed by the Russian army on Thursday, hundreds of bikes tell the saving the enemy.

Some machines were pampered: a knitted protects a saddle, a small bag is fixed on a frame. Others are more like work tools, rusty, hard to evil.

The luggage racks are sometimes provided with a baby seat, sometimes with a crate. There is also a heavy scooter for disabled people, a few strollers, wheelchairs, carts and a small brown bike on wheels.

More than 600 cycles wait in and around a small warehouse in Zelenodolsk. "We keep them for their owners", so that they can recover them at the end of the war, says Vitalï Rekhlitskiï, who works for the municipality.

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Many of them arrived in early March, while the Russian army gradually taken control of part of the neighboring region of Kherson. At that time, the invader had already stolen most of the cars in the surrounding villages, says Rekhlitskiï. To leave, only the bicycle remained.

"People fled, sometimes with nothing at all, sometimes with a bag," he recalls. They educated towards their freedom on ageless frames, whose absence of brakes on the handlebars indicates that they date from the Soviet era.

"Huge loss"

"for the elderly, (being deprived of these bikes) is a huge loss," sighs Dmitro Kostenko, their goalkeeper.

for a few weeks that the Ukraine launched a counter-offensive in the south, taking up some villages, new cycles are also brought back by the Ukrainian army.

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Sign that things may be evolving for better, around fifty owners have returned to collect their property. Each time one of them presents itself, "I have tears in my eyes," smiles the goalkeeper, while artillery fire resonates almost without interruption in the distance.

With the counter-offensive, "the bombings have intensified. There are more than +Bang +", observes this sixty-year-old walking with crutches.

Distant of just fifteen kilometers from the southern front, Zelenodolsk, which means "green valley" in Ukrainian as in Russian, is a small town of 13,000 inhabitants built in the 1960s, under the Soviet Union .

on the rich agricultural land from which it draws its name have been built a power plant, whose high fireplaces are visible from part of the town, as well as dozens of low and uniform buildings for its employees.

There is also a small hospital, strongly used Thursday morning when the Russian army targeted the plant, injuring 19 people, according to Valentyn Reznichenko, the governor of the Dnipro region, of which Zelenodolsk is part.

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"People were just going to work when the Russians pulled their (missiles) hurricane on them," he denounced.

"Antichrist"

None of the victims, however affected by projectile bursts, was too seriously reached, said Svitlana Kravtchouk, who gave them first aid.

In a regularly bombed city, where a 9 -year -old was killed in early September, many suffer from "chronic stress", continues the doctor. By dint of nights spent in corridors or cellars, many inhabitants "have forgotten what it is to sleep in a bed".

Since the beginning of the Ukrainian counter-offensive, with success for the moment mixed, the director of the Olena Yaroshenko hospital says she is more "reassured" because "we hear ours more shoot".

In its orchard on the edge of the city, where a pear tree folds under the fruits and a few strawberries are still growing, Evgenia Vasilieva, 84, nevertheless cries the disappeared calm.

Arrived in 1964 in Zelenodolsk, three years after the foundation of the city which she saw being built, she was married to a Russian and often went to Russia, where "all kinds of good people live", he said she. But at their head is now Vladimir Putin , "the Antichrist" carrying "the apocalypse", which scares this believer.

near his Garden of Eden, which makes it possible to imagine what the "green valley" was before the construction of Zelenodolsk, a house recently lost its roof, mowed by a shell.

03/10/2022 04:45:14-Zelenodolsk (Ukraine) ( AFP )-© 2022 AFP

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This is interesting!