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On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

A Ukrainian soldier mans a gunner position in a front-line trench in Avdiivka, Ukraine, on Sunday, January 23.

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

Local residents drive past an apartment building in the Ukrainian city of Marinka on Saturday. The building was badly damaged during fighting in 2015 between the Ukrainian army and Russian-backed separatists.

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

Ukrainian soldiers take shelter in a front-line trench in Pisky, Ukraine, on Monday. This trench was about 100 meters (109 yards) from separatist positions, photographer Timothy Fadek said.

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

Boys fish for carp and perch in Marinka on Saturday. “They don’t read the news and have no opinion about the Russian military buildup,” Fadek said. “But they said their parents were extremely worried and watch television news constantly.”

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

A Ukrainian soldier walks through a destroyed industrial zone in Avdiivka that, in some areas, is only 50 meters (about 55 yards) from the separatist trenches.

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

Zhanna, 42, is a lieutenant and doctor in the Ukrainian army, based in Avdiivka. Before joining the army last year, she was a pediatric physician in a local hospital. Her husband is an officer in the army. “I’m not sure that there will be an attack by Russia,” she said, “but I am ready to treat the soldiers in case they are wounded in fighting.”

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

Soldiers keeps watch at their front-line position in Avdiivka on Sunday.

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

A Ukrainian soldier holds a cat in Avdiivka on Sunday.

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

Soldiers sit in the back of a truck in Slov’yanoserbs’k, Ukraine, on Friday.

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

A soldier stands in a trench in Avdiivka.

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

A resident rides a bicycle in Marinka on Saturday. “Although this small city is less than 15 miles from the separatist front line, residents try to continue their lives as normal as possible,” Fadek said.

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

A soldier motions toward a dog at a front-line trench on Friday. Dogs live in these trenches with the soldiers and provide an early warning against intruders.

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

Ukrainian soldiers keep watch on the front line in Avdiivka.

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

A woman walks past a damaged apartment building in Marinka on Saturday. “The mood was somber, depressed and resigned,” Fadek said. “People are going through the motions of their daily lives.”

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

Viktoria, right, watches television with her 10-year-old daughter and her son and his girlfriend in Marinka on Saturday. When asked if she had a message for the world leaders involved in the conflict Viktoria said: “Stop. Just stop. It’s enough. Think about your children if they were here.”

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

A look inside a Ukrainian trench on the front lines.

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

Ukrainian soldiers guard a front-line trench position on Friday.

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

A Ukrainian soldier keeps watch in Avdiivka.

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

A destroyed car is seen outside a damaged building in Avdiivka.

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

A Ukrainian soldier walks through the industrial zone in Avdiivka.

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

A Ukrainian soldier on the front lines mans a gunner position on Friday.

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

Men play billiards in Marinka during a local tournament on Saturday.

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

A Ukrainian soldier walks through a destroyed industrial zone in Avdiivka that has seen heavy shelling over the years.

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

A farmer in Muratove, Ukraine, chops wood on Friday while family members collect it to sell to a nearby Ukrainian army base.

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

The Ukrainian soldiers Fadek spent time with Friday were extremely relaxed, he said. “They have embraced the inevitability.”

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

A woman sells dried fish on the road leading to Kramatorsk, Ukraine, on Thursday.

On the front lines, Ukrainians brace for possible attack

A soldier walks with dogs in a front-line trench. “I’ve been in the trenches many times before in the summer,” Fadek said. “This is the first time it was in the winter. Visually, because the trenches and the landscape are covered in snow, it reminds me of World War I trenches. Cold misery.”


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