Conflict leaves blind in rebel-held Ukraine stuck in dark

Before the start of the conflict between Moscow-backed rebels and Kiev forces in eastern Ukraine in 2014, the factory used to employ about 1,500 workers.

Conflict leaves blind in rebel-held Ukraine stuck in dark

World Bulletin / News Desk

Partially sighted Georgiy Lukyanov makes his way through the ageing lathes in the factory where he works in rebel-held eastern Ukraine.

The grim, dilapidated eight-storey plant, which produces disposable shoe covers and jar lids for pickles and jams, was set up in 1930 by the Soviet authorities in the industrial city of Donetsk to offer employment to visually impaired people.

"For people like me, this work is the only chance to remain a normal member of society," 54-year-old Lukyanov, who has worked at the factory for 15 years, told AFP.

But that changed dramatically during the three-and-a-half-year war that killed more than 10,000 people and displaced more than a million.

Two-thirds of Donetsk residents fled in search of a better life and many people with visual impairments joined their families and relatives in other cities.

Many of those who stayed behind became virtual prisoners in their own homes: some were let go or asked to go on unpaid leave, while others began receiving such miserly wages that they simply refused to show up at work.

Last Mod: 24 Eylül 2017, 13:54
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