Tuesday, May 5, 2015Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Anger, relief as Slavyansk emerges from rebel siege

Published on Jul 7, 2014 7:38 AM
   A resident of the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk carries water and bread given out by Emergency Ministry employees at the city hall as she walks in the street on July 6, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP 

SLAVYANSK, Ukraine (AFP) - Anna Gribnikova looks on as aid workers hand out loaves of bread nearby from the back of a truck to Slavyansk residents who she says had been held “hostage” by pro-Russian separatists for three months.

The retired teacher is relieved to see the back of the rebels who fled the small eastern industrial town that had become the centre of their separatist uprising after an onslaught by the Ukrainian army.

“Those so-called defenders, those terrorists, they are still dreaming of the Soviet Union,” Gribnikova lamented. “They do not seem to understand that this is the 21st century.”

“We were like hostages” of the separatists who wanted to break away from Kiev and its pro-Western leaders and join neighbouring Russia, she tells AFP.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!