Russia Ukraine War

Family and friends of 35-year-old Anna Protsenko, who was killed in a Russian rocket attack, walk to a cemetery for her burial, during her funeral procession, on the outskirts of Pokrovsk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, July 18, 2022. Protsenko was killed two days after coming home. She had done what authorities wanted, evacuating eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region as Russian forces move closer, but starting a new life elsewhere was uncomfortable and expensive. 

POKROVSK, Ukraine — The missile's impact flung the young woman against the fence so hard it splintered. Her mother found her dying on the bench beneath the pear tree where she'd enjoyed the afternoon. By the time her father arrived, she was gone.

Anna Protsenko was killed two days after returning home. The 35-year-old had done what authorities wanted: She evacuated eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region as Russian forces move closer. But starting a new life elsewhere had been uncomfortable and expensive.

Like Protsenko, tens of thousands of people have returned to rural or industrial communities close to the region's front line at considerable risk because they can't afford to live in safer places.

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