Near the front, a Ukrainian community somehow survives

STORY: But not Anna, a lanky middle aged 25-year army veteran with close-cropped hair, who has no place to go. Anna rattles off a list of the things nobody has any more around here.

"There is no electricity, there is no water, there is no gas," she says. There are no shops, not even a kiosk.

"I have no idea how people have survived here for the past four months. We are trying to hold on."

Five months into Russia's invasion, ordinary life in Kyiv has largely returned.

But along a much longer stretch of hundreds of kilometres of frontline that winds through the south and east, lie countless ghost villages like Mala Tokmachka.

"Farmers cannot harvest their crops. I am an agriculture worker myself. And it is painful to look at the fields. But what can one do? People are afraid to go to the fields. People do not harvest crops even next to their own homesteads," said Mykola Skarupilo, 67.

He, too, is not leaving. He has an elderly mother who doesn't want to go.

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