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Crisis in Ukraine: “Because of the war, everything was destroyed”, says a fisherman from the Mariupol region

To reach this beach on the Sea of ​​Azov (Ukraine) and the fishermen’s huts, you have to pass a checkpoint, zigzag between the concrete blocks placed on the road and walk along minefields. The front line is a few kilometers away and the military holds the area. They check the papers. Mykola Vasilovitch, 71, is waiting for us on the other side, at Prymorské. The retired fisherman is bearing the full brunt of tensions with Russia.

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As Moscow puts pressure on Kiev with tens of thousands of troops deployed and the conflict in Donbass sees a new outbreak of violence, Mykola Vasilovitch holds her cane firmly. With clear eyes and a marked face, he lives in this fishing village located south of Donbass, in the Mariupol region. In 2014, he lost everything: the bombings swept away the life he had built. “I had two canning factories, two boat-building factories and I was farming sturgeons. Because of the war, everything was destroyed”he says, speaking loudly, accustomed to being heard despite the wind. “All this is bad for my heart”he says, placing his hand on it. “I had to be operated on.”

Mykola Vasilovitch, 71, a retired fisherman, in the fishing village of Prymorske not far from Mariupol and the front line between Russia and Ukraine.  (BENJAMIN ILLY / RADIO FRANCE)

The job has become much more difficult with Russian-Ukrainian tensions, he said. “We had a passage of 20 kilometers. We could go there to fish because there was depth there”he recalls. “Now the Russians have put their boats in: not the big ships but military boats. While the sea is a common good!” Result : “Young people no longer want to do this job, it’s too hardhe assures. They go away for a better life.”

The continuous shelling and shooting in the area worries him. “We hear them all the time.” However, he is regularly informed of the situation on the Russian side. “I speak with those who are there, on the other side of the border. I know a lot of people there who worked for me before. They know me and we communicate every day. They tell me discreetly what is going on. prepare.” According to him, Russian mercenaries and instructors are positioned. “I don’t want war”he asks, holding back his tears and clinging to his cane. “What’s on Putin’s mind? No one knows!”

In the fishing village of Prymorske, near Mariupol (Ukraine), tensions with Russia are having consequences. Benjamin Illy’s report

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