Photos: The bread delivery runs in Ukraine’s war-torn Donbas | Russia-Ukraine war News

Three huge bags wedged under the handlebar of his red and white moped, Oleksandr rushes through the winding trails of the Donbas region, eastern Ukraine, to deliver bread to remaining locals.

Almost every day, Russian strikes hit the town of Siversk, about 10km (6.2 miles) from a front line that has barely moved since last summer.

Oleksandr has just picked up the bread at the Siversk town hall humanitarian centre, which gets about 2,500 loaves twice a week from the cities of Kramatorsk and Kostiantynivka.

“We need to drive fast, so that nothing catches up with us,” Oleksandr says, referring to potential shelling.

Under the spring sun, the 44-year-old drives at full speed until he reaches a dirt road lined with small houses and blossoming trees.

He starts the day’s deliveries at his neighbours, just across from his own house.

Olena Ishakova, 62, comes out of her home in a long blue dressing gown with yellow pockets and collars.

“On Tuesdays, we get two loaves of white bread, on Thursdays we get sweet bread and black bread,” Ishakova says.

She grabs the loaves wrapped in bags stamped with the logo of the “World Food Programme”.

Ishakova’s daughter and granddaughter were evacuated last February towards the calmer west of Ukraine, but she stayed in Siversk with her husband.

In July and August, Russian forces launched small unsuccessful assaults on the town that they also shelled.

The eastern part of Siversk with its high buildings was the worst damaged, while the western part and its smaller houses were relatively spared.

“It’ll be a year since we’ve had any electricity on May 5,” Ishakova says, with the pounding of artillery shots in the background.

“We don’t know who is shooting, or from where. We only hear the explosions … I sit in the house, the windows shake, it’s scary, very scary,” she says.

Oleksandr runs into Valentyna Zaruba, a 73-year-old who delivers bread in a neighbouring street.

“I’m in charge of my street, and someone else is in charge of theirs, that’s how we work,” Zaruba explains.

Depending on the days, Zaruba delivers the bread with a wheelbarrow, or with her bike.

The previous night, shelling damaged three homes at the end of the street. An 82-year-old was wounded.

Holding her bike, Zaruba goes to see Lyubov Shcherbak, who is surrounded by a dozen chatty hens and four roosters.

“How can we live without bread? There’s nowhere for us to bake it” in Siversk, she says.

“I don’t know what to think any more. I hope things will get better … I don’t know,” she says, her gaze lost in the horizon.

Zaruba, standing next to her, says she “cannot leave an elderly woman alone. My conscience just won’t let me.”

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