Retired people of Lugansk are starving, but pay for utilities.

In Ukraine people of Lugansk, a city under control of so-called Lugansk People’s Republic for almost a year now, are starving, but continue to pay for utilities.

Retired people who are most disciplined get in a line at cash windows.

Retired people in a line in Lugansk to pay utility bills

Retired people in a line in Lugansk to pay utility bills

Last week they started to get pensions for April in rubles. When they got it, conscientious old people compared utility meters with the bills they got and came to branches of former “Oshchad Bank” and “Ukrposhta”.

Zoya Ivanovna says that the debts for utilities that accumulated for the last few months are pretty big, so will have to save on food and gave up some medications

But there are some people who started to pay the bills as soon as shelling stopped and utilities offices started to operate, like “Gorgaz” (gas), “Gorsvet” (electricity) and “Gorvoda” (water). They were paying cash in those offices.

The bills can only be paid in UAH cash

The bills can only be paid in UAH cash

Aleksandra Semenovna complains that they don’t take rubles (RUB) in many places, they prefer hryvnia (UAH). Banks have such rules.

Retired people confess that they were saving for funerals and had to give that money in order to survive.

Olga Ivanovna still has some hryvnias (UAH) saved. The woman survived more than one war, so since last spring she started to get ready and started to collect Ukrainian hryvnias.

Svetlana Aleksandrovna lives 10 months without pension

Svetlana Aleksandrovna lives 10 months without pension

Only 20-30 percent of Lugansk population are paying bills for utilities. Many people have no food. Kirilovs family is one of them. Svetlana Aleksandrovna hasn’t seen her pension that she got for working on a plant for the last 10 months.

Svetlana Aleksandrovna's granddaughter

Svetlana Aleksandrovna’s granddaughter

Svetlana Aleksandrovna says that in order to heat her old house that has many cracks in it, they used a lot of natural gas. And now they still use heating as 2 years old granddaughter Nastya lives there with her grandmother. The woman says that controllers regularly come to them to check the utilities meters, but they have nothing to promise them. There is not a dime in a house.

Putin's photo in Svetlana Aleksandrovna's room

Putin’s photo in Svetlana Aleksandrovna’s room

“Want to die” says Svetlana Aleksandrovna, you can see a photo of Putin in her room.

Report by Nikolay Samartsev and Andrey Dihtjarenko for Radio Svoboda, see original post in Russian at www.radiosvoboda.org

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