as ukraine moves on rebel stronghold, residents live with sound of shelling
Only one checkpoint in the Ukrainian army surrounded the separatist stronghold of Slavyansk, where a third day of military action was carried out on Thursday to get traffic through-
Most in its way.
In addition, the sporadic heavy artillery bombing in the northern suburbs interrupted a strange calm in the center of the almost unscathed sun --
In this rain-drenched town, residents ride bikes and push strollers through rebel barricades made up of cut-down trees, sandbags and rusty cars.
No one jumps in the voice.
\"We are learning to accept it,\" said Vlad cherbanyuk, a car mechanic whose 6-year-
The old daughter chased the pigeons under the gaze of the Lenin statue in the central square.
She was dressed up in a pink dress on her godmother\'s birthday.
\"Before yesterday, when they were banging all day --
This is unbearable.
We hid in the basement next door for hours. door home.
You never know where or when it will fall.
Every minute, BAM! Bam! \' . . .
\"The Kiev government is trying to break the rebellion of the Russians.
A spokesman for the Eastern Plains said more than 300 rebels were
\"Since the start of a new offensive in and around Slavyansk on Tuesday, terrorist action \".
The rebels denied that the Ukrainian army had lost more than they had.
As violence continues in eastern Ukraine and tensions between Ukraine and Russia, when president-
Elected Petro Poroshenko met with world leaders this week ahead of Saturday\'s inauguration.
But in a hospital a few streets away, a bloody gray --
In the heavily fought area, a man with full hair was pushed forward after being hit by shrapnel.
He is wearing plain clothes, not camouflage clothes that his relatives like.
\"We received about 15 people today.
\"It\'s all shrapnel,\" said Nina Akulova, a white man. coated nurse.
Ukrainian military spokesman seldislav Seleznyov said on the phone that,
Action upwards is taking place in two regions, Semyonovka and Krasni Liman, north of Slaviansk.
While many have fled the besieged town of about 130,000 people, the town is located at the strategic center of the East bath area at the crossroads of the three main areas of eastern Ukraine, and on Thursday the streets are packed with shoppers.
Despite nearby shelling and the emptying of fresh products such as milk, eggs and meat on store shelves, well-sold suitcases still stand behind the glass counter.
\"Suitcases and batteries sell well,\" Tatiana Khavrik, 40, said while taking care of two armed militias . \".
In the heart of the city, local utilities said many families had no water after a water pipe was damaged by shelling.
The two men pushed the water-filled container home with carts.
\"Our family is here, our grave is here.
Where will we go?
It\'s terrible for the children and the elderly, but if we leave, where will we go back: ruins?
Asked Antonina, 55.
\"I pray that politicians will negotiate for peace.
\"Poroshenko ordered the resumption of government forces shortly after his election in May 25 to calm the insurgency in the region, where people were largely unable or unwilling to vote in the polls.
On the contrary, thousands of people in the east voted in the interim referendum.
Rebel rule, some of whom have called on Moscow to annex the region like Crimea.
While few of them are locals, many residents think these armed militias are benevolent, they oppose the government that came to power after President Victor Ukraine was overthrown after a massive protest in Kiev in February.
\"The situation is very grim,\" said a bearded activist who guarded a roadblock near the hospital, saying he was from the city of Lugansk east of the Russian border.
\"We got reinforcements.
\"The locals are awake now,\" he said . \".
But because the fighting is at the doorstep and many people are out of work, some support for the cause of separatism is wobbling.
\"The bank called to ask for payment and they didn\'t care when we said \'no job, there\'s war here.
Alexander fridges, 27, said he was a taxi driver in Slavyansk.
Although she supported the referendum for herself
The 50-year-old says she is no longer sure.
\"Things are worse every day,\" she said . \"
\"If I thought at first, \'Yeah, everything was great.
We will be with Russia.
Then, when they said they wanted to \"drag us down\", I began to think that maybe peace would be better.
\"The military offensive government forces seem to have tightened control, with clashes with rebels inside and outside the main industrial centers in Donetsk and Luhansk, both losing their lives.
However, it is not clear whether the Ukrainian military, with the support of the attack aircraft, has made real progress in combating the rebels who occupy the strategic points of densely populated cities.
Young Ukrainian soldiers inspected the car at a heavily guarded checkpoint in Bilbasovka and entered Slaviansk. The 50-
Some people live in eight armored personnel carriers and tents on the side of the road.
\"I won\'t go next time. I\'ll quit.
It\'s not worth spending 600 hyrv na risking my life (
$50 per month).
We are political pawns . \"
Cheeky soldiers, like the rest of the checkpoint, say he comes from the western city of Lviv, a stronghold of Ukrainian nationalism in a country that is increasingly divided between east and west.
\"It was dark at about 10, and then the music and disco lights came on,\" he said painfully, referring to the separatist shooting at night, they seemed to enter and leave the surrounding fields and villages at will.
Another soldier complained that their mission was doomed as long as he thought volunteer fighters and weapons from Russia could easily cross the long and loose border with Russia.
Kiev says the battle was provoked by Moscow, which opposes the pro-Russian army.
And accused Russia of allowing volunteers to enter Ukraine to fight alongside the rebels.
Moscow denied this and called on Ukraine to engage in dialogue with separatists, despite Kiev\'s commitment to limit traffic on Ukraine\'s border with Russia at the ushaksk crossing in Donetsk province, there was no indication of additional reinforcements.
A border official, Sergei Putin, declined to comment, but said the newly installed travel route was only for display.
\"This is what you can call imitation,\" he said . \"(
Additional reports by Thomas Grove;
Work by Alissa de Carbonnel;
Editor Eric Walsh)