‘Be happy this summer!’ Ukrainians bathe at Sloviansk beach as rockets fly nearby

  • Ukrainians aren’t letting the Russian invasion stop them from hitting the beach.
  • People are cycling on the beach in the area of Sloviansk, which is not far from active battles still going on.
  • Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

With its white sand, changing cubicles and clear water, the beach at Sloviansk in eastern Ukraine looks tempting. There’s just one problem: the nearby bangs of rockets and missiles.

The lakeside resort is close to one of the most active fronts in the war with Russia, to the north of Sloviansk, where Ukrainian troops firing from woods and villages are seeking to halt Moscow’s advance.

But that doesn’t dissuade some beachgoers.

“We just came here to walk around and take some snaps,” says Kostyantyn, 40, strolling around wearing wraparound sunglasses and shorts.

READ | Ukraine conflict: Russian businessman places $1m bounty on Putin’s head

“We wanted (to swim) but it’s too cold,” he adds as the sunbaked region has a rare cloudy day. “A beach is a beach,” he says, taking pictures of his friend Denys at an outdoor gym.

The nearby arms fire sounds like American howitzers, supplied to Ukrainian troops.

A group of cyclists from the village of Mykolayivka ride on the deserted beach of Sloviansk.

The Russian frontline is only about 10 kilometres away and the Ukrainian armed forces said Wednesday that Moscow’s troops were carrying out systematic firing in order to resume an offensive on Sloviansk.

The Sloviansk lake resort was once famous for its salty waters, believed to help relieve joint problems.

A sanatorium built on the spot is no longer open, however.

“It’s pretty, people come to swim. We also come to see the swans,” says Daniil, 39, who cycled along the beach with a group of friends on the way to buy food in Sloviansk.

‘Be happy’

Daniil says he is a metal worker at the Sloviansk power station in the nearby town of Mykolaivka, which has halted work due to the war.

Orange plastic letters on a beach hut read: “Be happy this summer”, but the beach loungers have been locked inside. Ice cream stalls and a massage cabin are also closed.

Local residents walk on the deserted beach of Slov

Local residents walk on the deserted beach of Sloviansk.

“We used to come a lot before the war”, Kostyantyn explained. “This is just the second time this year.”

He says he has been helping out locally: feeding dogs abandoned by their owners, who have left for safer western Ukraine.

“I’m not scared because I’m a volunteer and have been under shelling,” he says, as loud booms can be heard in the background.

Kostyantyn recalls how he was caught up in a Russian shelling attack on an evacuation bus in Kharkiv region in February.

“With what’s happening now, you realise that life is not so threatening. People’s fear is more of a threat, since what they fear comes true.”

READ | ‘It’s almost apocalyptic’: SA ambassador in Kyiv describes scenes in Ukraine

As the war draws on, those who opted not to evacuate from the area have become “very pushy and hardened,” he says.

“I think it’s more like a form of nerve stress.”

“There are those who are waiting for Russians to come,” interjects his friend Denys.

“People think it will be better, that they’ll get a Russian pension.”

There are also some who already receive benefits from the Moscow-backed separatist regions, adds Kostyantyn.

In 2014, Sloviansk was taken over by Russia-backed separatists and Ukraine only won it back after a lengthy siege.

Now the sleepy green town has no water or gas and an unstable electricity supply due to war damage and difficulties of repairs, its mayor told AFP this week.

Stacks of concrete beams on the road from the beach resort into the city creates a lengthy obstacle course for vehicles and trenches have been built along it.

Related Posts

France reported more than 125 000 new coronavirus infections on Friday.

Average daily new Covid-19 infections in France rise to nearly 100 000

France reported more than 125 000 new coronavirus infections on Friday. France reported more than 125 000 new coronavirus infections on Friday, pushing the seven-day moving…

Four young women with chips and milkshakes in front of a sign for Vkusno & tochka

A YouTuber journalist says a rebranded Russian McDonalds has flatter Coke, smells different

People visit the newly opened Vkusno & tochka restaurant in a former McDonald’s outlet in Pushkinskaya Square, on June 12, 2022 in Moscow, Russia. The first rebranded…

A doctor shows on a computer screen a positive result of Monkeypox test.

WHO calls for ‘urgent’ action in Europe over monkeypox

A doctor shows on a computer screen a positive result of Monkeypox test. Pablo Blazquez Dominguez, Getty Images The World Health Organisation called on Friday for…

Satellite images taken after Ukraine regained control of Snake Island showed destruction left behind by Russian troops

Satellite images taken after Ukraine regained control of Snake Island showed destruction left behind by Russian troops

Satellite images from June 30, 2022 show the destruction left behind by Russian troops on Snake Island. They were forced out by Ukrainian forces after occupying the…

Fighter jets over northern Norway during an exercise with Norwegian, Finnish, French, and German aircraft, June 2, 2022.

As Sweden’s and Finland’s NATO bids move forward, the alliance is already eyeing their fighter jets

Fighter jets over northern Norway during an exercise with Norwegian, Finnish, French, and German aircraft, June 2, 2022. Royal Norwegian Air Force Sweden and Finland applied…

EXPLAINER | Covid-19 vaccines for young children: Is it safe, and how many doses do they need?

Europe to see ‘high levels’ of Covid-19 this summer – WHO

A health care worker prepares a dose of China’s Sinovac Biotech vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), during the mass vaccination program at the Tangerang City…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.