Ukraine's Frontline Bakery Our World


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Ukraine's Frontline Bakery

Lucy Ash reports from Marinka in eastern Ukraine, where a new bakery brings some comfort and sustenance to war-weary locals.


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Now on BBC News, it's Our World.

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The ball in eastern Ukraine, more

than 10,000 people have died. Now

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this has become one of the longest

conflicts in modern European

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history.

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There is no end in sight to the her

still tears after separatist rebels

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backed by Russia took over Ukraine's

Donbass region. Hundreds of families

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were split up, stranded on opposite

sides of the border.

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With destruction all around, one

familiar smell of peace time. But

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life to many here is anything but

normal. I Lucy Ash and I in the town

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of Maryinka, were a bakery is

providing hope that missed the

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trauma of war. -- among.

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Maryinka lies on the Ukrainian side

of the frontline. Before the

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conflict, nearly 10,000 people lived

here. There is only half that number

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now. Factories and coal mines have

come to a standstill, in a war zone,

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jobs are hard to find. But for those

trapped here, daily life must

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somehow won. -- go on. I have come

to meet a local pastor who, against

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the odds, has started a small

business here.

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He converted this old supermarket,

damaged in the fighting, into a

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working bakery.

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The bakery is Maryinka's first new

business seemed the war began. He

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produces fresh bread at affordable

prices. Olga has lived in the town

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for 30 years, ever since she and

husband were evacuated from the

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Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

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This war has separated her on her

children and grandchildren.

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Older's home in Maryinka was badly

damaged by shelling. She had her

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husband camp out in a home log into

a family which has fled. She pines

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for her old life. She was very, very

proud of the house and garden. She

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wants to show me pictures.

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Her children and grandchildren live

in an area controlled by the

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breakaway Donetsk People's Republic

and you need special permission to

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go there.

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The conflict in eastern Ukraine was

sparked by a demonstrations in Kiev

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in the winter of 2013 which ousted

the pro- Moscow President, soon

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after the Russian takeover of

Crimea, Russian backed rebels then

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seized territory around the eastern

city of Donetsk and declared the

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breakaway republics. Maryinka, just

30 kilometres from Donetsk found it

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self in a war zone. At the beginning

of the conflict, it was captured by

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the DNR forces and retaken by the

Ukrainian army for months later. The

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frontline runs north-east of

Maryinka's Centre. Queues across to

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the other side could last hours,

even days. This effect the border

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has divided families and created

deep reefs between former

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neighbours. The divisions here in

Maryinka are really quite

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complicated. These labels, up

pro-Russian, pro- Ukrainian, don't

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really mean very much. People anyway

are scared to say which side they

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actually support and, above all

else, they want what is best for

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them and their families. They want

peace to return to the town and the

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fighting to stop. Bread is

subsidised to cover costs, the

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bakery has to make a small profit.

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The pastors started the bakery in

2016. They realise needed physical

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as well as spiritual sustenance. Now

he spends his days in Maryinka but

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it might he goes home to a town

safely away from the frontline. He

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does not hide where his political

sympathies lie. He takes it to meet

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his family.

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He was once a successful businessman

in Donetsk, now in rebel held

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territory. He sought solace in the

church after his daughter died in a

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car crash before the war. Today he

dedicates his life to help

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They prop in bread from other towns

but it arrived sale and cold so he

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got the idea for the bakery. It

opened with the help from foreign

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aid, $10,000 camera which has a

large Ukrainian diaspora and flower

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from the Czech Republic. -- $10,000

from Canada

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from the Czech Republic. -- $10,000

from Canada.

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The bakery employs seven people. On

the night's shift, three work flat

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out to produce another bread, Barnes

and biscuits for the next day. --

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buns. It is just past 11 o'clock and

they are waiting for the bread to

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rise by the time I have been here we

have already had gunfire and shells

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go. She is telling me it is very

normal and it happens most nights

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they are here. Natasha had a job ad

bakery in town if what it was hit by

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a Shell. The bakery here is a haven

from the fighting which usually

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kicks off at dusk. The women stay

here until morning because it is too

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dangerous to travel home at night.

They both live in the so-called red

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zone, in a neighbourhood right eye

the frontline. Tanja lives with her

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husband and teenage son.

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Olga has mixed feeling about the

Ukrainian Army's presence in the

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town.

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Many here don't know who to believe

and a lack of information deepens

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the distrust. Locals mostly watch

Russian TV which has a much stronger

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signal than the Ukrainian channels.

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We are going to the place where the

Ukrainian Army is positioned just on

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the outskirts of Marinka. Apparently

there was in trouble their last

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night, quite a lot of shelling, but

it is quiet today. Morale is low

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even though these troops only

arrived in the new rotation a few

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weeks ago. Many suspect the war is

being driven by profit and

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corruption but they don't want to

say that on camera. A singer officer

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talks of men in the shadows and

smuggling networks for weapons, coal

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and oil. Use of this opportunity to

introduce himself to the soldiers.

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The Ukrainian government calls this

area the anti-terrorist operation

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zone and seize the land on the other

side of the frontline as occupied

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territory. I'm not going to come out

any further onto the roof because

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there are snipers in that direction

but you can see how close the town

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is, I just heard the church bells,

the bakery and the market just about

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four or 500 metres from here this

really is a town the frontline. Life

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is hard, especially to the elderly

in Marinka. The International Red

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Cross distributes aid such as coal

but poverty and the stress of war

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create tensions between neighbours.

Seemed to be I don't know about 40

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people queueing up to this

registration to get winter cold. I'm

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just going to ask about it.

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Upstairs I find Lieutenant

Alexander, a military man now in

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charge of Marinka. He is

uncomfortable when I ask him aid is

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coming from and charities rather

than the Ukrainian government.

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I've come to meet Olya the Baker.

The house was hit and patched up by

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volunteers. It is right next to the

checkpoint which separates Ukraine

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from no man's land. Beyond this

slack heap is rebel held territory,

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but the end. -- the DNR. It has been

no gas or drinking water in Marinka

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since the war began. People have

always produced their own food here.

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But now it is even more important.

During the worst bombing, Olya went

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down to the cellar. Her elderly

father didn't make it and died after

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being injured by shattered glass.

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being injured by shattered glass.

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Tanya who works with Olya at the

bakery lives only a few hours at

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four

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Almost every house in Tanya's Street

has been bombed or shelled at some

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point.

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A local teacher is that the bakery

to pick up funds this Monday morning

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for the kindergarten.

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This building, like most in the

town, was badly damaged and the

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children were evacuated.

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Now it is open again, although there

are only two classes so far. There

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is no canteen here yet to the jam

filled buns are a special treat.

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The war in Ukraine has slipped off

the political agenda and it is

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really in the news anymore but it is

far from over. It is hard to imagine

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a time when these children will be

able to live in peace.

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And although the fighting now is not

as bad as it has been, it is -- its

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sporadic nature means nobody knows

when or where the next shell will

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land.

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The war in eastern Ukraine between Russian-backed rebels and the Ukrainian army has killed more than 10,000 people over four years, and peace remains a distant prospect. Despite the violence and poverty though, civilians in the war zone try to live as normal a life as possible. In the frontline town of Marinka, a new bakery has opened which brings some comfort and sustenance to war-weary locals. From Marinka, Lucy Ash reports.