Beleaguered Ukrainians plea for peace from hospital beds - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Beleaguered Ukrainians plea for peace from hospital beds

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A woman who lost a leg in shelling calls out for an end to the violence in eastern Ukraine. (Source: CNN) A woman who lost a leg in shelling calls out for an end to the violence in eastern Ukraine. (Source: CNN)

DONETSK, UKRAINE (CNN) - The fighting in eastern Ukraine now seems to have NATO's complete attention.

Its secretary general says alliance members this week will likely create what he calls "a very high readiness force" to deal with Russia's intervention in Ukraine.

This comes as European nations threaten additional sanctions against Russia.

On the ground, the fighting has crippled eastern Ukraine.

Citizens of Donetsk are crying out for Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko to end the violence.

Poroshenko will have a hard time winning back hearts and minds in the city.

As the people of Donetsk sweep up the debris of their homes and livelihoods, they are hardened against a president who they say is killing his own people.

“We are Ukrainian but they kill us so we probably need our own country. Because these people in Kiev, they are not brothers for us,” said resident Alexander Omelyavenko.

The shells hit the homes days ago but the tears are still fresh.

"We live underground. It was so hard for two weeks - especially 27th, 28th, 29th - only today is quiet. Sorry I have to go,” said Victoria Khrushova.

Two people were killed outside this block of flats last Wednesday. One of them was a 50-year-old woman, the other one a 34-year-old woman. Her husband won't talk, he says he's in shock.

He managed to make it down to the cellar with their little child but she just didn't have the time. And this is a story which repeats itself over and over in dozens of apartment blocks with civilians being killed by the constant shelling around Donetsk.

The city's trauma hospital is filled with the civilian wounded.

Shrapnel embedded in the flesh and bone of market-sellers' legs.

The broken limbs of pensioners far too old to run.

"There was one war and this is the second war. I was born in 1940 in World War Two and I will probably die before this war is over,” said the elderly Valentina Sergeyevna.

Valentina Popova in the ward next door lost her leg and her arm to indiscriminate artillery shells.

Switching to the Ukrainian language, she makes a heartrending plea to the president.

"We used to dance, sing, do everything in Ukrainian. Poroshenko, Mr Poroshenko - please listen to us. Why don't you understand your people? Be a man. Be human. Please stop your aggression. Stop this war,” she said.

But there is little sign of that. This once thriving city is now half-empty. Its railway station bombed. The forces unleashed in this conflict greater perhaps than Poroshenko can control.

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