Russian Attacks Crush Factories and Way of Life in Ukrainian Villages

Its towering smokestacks once puffed out clouds of steam. In gigantic machine rooms, turbines whirled around the clock. Furnaces burned trainloads of coal.

In the Soviet era, the Kurakhove Heating and Power Plant gave rise to the town around it in Ukraine’s east, driving the local economy and sustaining the community with wages and heating for homes.

“Our plant is the heart of our city,” said Halyna Liubchenko, a retiree whose husband worked his entire career in nearby coal mines that fed the facility.

That heart is barely beating now, partly destroyed by artillery. The plant is among the last still operating in Ukraine’s Donbas region, once the country’s center of heavy industry and now a focal point of Russian ground offensives that are ravaging towns and cities along the front line.

War in eastern Ukraine has killed tens of thousands of people, reduced cities to ruins and displaced millions of people. It has also all but destroyed the factories and plants that were for years an important driver of Ukraine’s economy.

A miner finishing a shift at a coal mine in the Donetsk region of Ukraine.
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