On Front Line: Destroyed Berdianske
Shells destroyed 40 houses in Berdianske, but a lot of people still live there
Close to one of the hottest spots along the confrontation line, most of the residents of Berdianske have left. But about a hundred people, including ten children, continue living there.
In Berdianske, which is about 25 kilometers from Mariupol, there are concrete blocks lying on the road. A Ukrainian stronghold, the last checkpoint before entering Berdianske, has a broken roof as a result of shelling.
The territory is controlled by Ukrainian marines. Signs along the road warn of mines.
People in Berdianske are tired of feeling the danger of the war.
The worst of it was in 2015. Then, when the village was repeatedly fired upon by Russia-led forces and mercenaries.
“It’s a terrible thing. Smoke, fire, everything exploded, everyone left. Forty-four houses in the village were damaged. Some were completely destroyed,” Berdianske resident Valeriy Demianenko said.
Five years ago, more than 300 people lived in Berdianske. Then the war started. Forty homes were destroyed. Two-thirds of the population left because of the war. Now, those who remain are wary about the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops as part of a new peace plan. They’re afraid to live in the planned ‘buffer zone,’ to come under direct shelling again.
“We have no idea what is better or worse. For example, in the area of Zolote, militants continue shelling. We remain in the gray zone and I don’t know how it will be,” Berdianske resident Raisa Sadym said.
Residents say the situation has been calmer. The village is no longer shelled by militants. However, at night one can hear the sound of shelling not too far off.
“It calms down during the day. They shell at night and then it calms down again. We come here to get together. As soon as we say, it’s quiet, the militants start shelling again,” Demianenko said.
Summer cottages on the outskirts of the village are now completely destroyed. People used to cycle between the villages of Shyrokyne and Berdianske. But now there is nowhere to go now. The war is 500 meters away.
“Residents of Shyrokyne suffered more than anyone else because people were left without homes. They live in Mariupol as internally displaced persons. There is no settlement like Shyrokyne along the entire confrontation line. There is Pisky, but people still live there. Nobody lives in Shyrokyne. It is a ghost village,” said Head of Military Civil Administration of Shyrokyne, Oleh Prylypko.
The Novoazovske Road was recently opened for residents of Berdianske to make it easier for people to get to Mariupol. It brings sustenance and medical help.