This is the last bus from the last position that Ukraine occupies on the road to Kherson – the first and only major city that Russia has taken.
Villagers are given standing room only, while the elderly were rushed into a van.
“Grandpa, we’re here,” shouts a local’s daughter, Viktor, from the door of the bus, as he sits a little puzzled in the van. The panic is real; at any moment the shelling could resume, a bombardment that residents say has littered the village of Posad-Pokrovske in southern Ukraine with cluster munitions.
As the two-vehicle convoy reached the pockmarked road towards the town of Mykolaiv, shells again tarred the horizon with a plume of black smoke. Sitting in the back of the van, Vitali collapses, using his grimy orange work gloves to wipe the tears from his eyes.
“Civilians! They killed everyone, they are bastards, they are reptiles, parasites,” he said. “They don’t fight troops, they fight people. Do you understand? Kill everyone. Worse than the fascists.”
Airstrikes, graduated rockets, cluster munitions, the inhabitants remember two weeks of intense bombardments as evidenced by the fabric of Posad-Pokrovske.
The Ukrainian marines who hold Posad-Pokrovske, the last colony before the Russian positions defending Kherson airport, remain vague about their positions.
But their target is clear: the airport outside Kherson, used as a Russian base, which is already badly hit by Ukrainian bombing.
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