The ‘bizarre’ on the ground reaction to escalating conflict in Ukraine
An Australian photojournalist working in the eastern Ukrainian separatist region of Donetsk says the feeling in the region’s capital city, Kramatorsk, as the threat of armed conflict grows is “just so bizarre”.
Bryce Wilson say out on the street reporting from the frontline today when “three artillery rounds came in pretty close”.
But he says many locals are surprisingly relaxed about the threat.
“It’s kind of surreal. I’ll talk to some people and even after Russia’s forces have already deployed into the occupied territories they still say it’s impossible that this invasion will happen,” he told Ross and Russel.
“Today I was interviewing two people, a husband and wife, and they were planting fruit trees in their new garden and while this was happening there was massive artillery strikes all around the city … I asked them ‘Aren’t you scared?’ and they said ‘No, it’s just normal life now’.
“The reaction on the ground is just so bizarre, you can’t believe it.”
Mr Wilson said he fears evacuation of the city is “too little and too late”.
“I overheard a conversation just this evening where two people were saying ‘Where are we meant to go when they start shooting?’,” he said.
“Some people can’t leave even if they want to.”
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Security expert Misha Zelinksy travelled from Australia to Kyiv on Friday.
He told Neil Mitchell was surprised by how “normal” life is there.
“You’d be surprised about the level of scepticism about whether or not Putin will go the whole way,” he said.
“Everyone is sort of acting normally, shops are full … bars are full, restaurants are full, and so life is very normal here.”
Image: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images