Ekaterina Pereverzeva struggles to end her fear of war as large numbers of Russian troops mass near her second home, Ukraine.

As we talked in a pub, she stated that ‘any time could be my last peaceful moment’. “We could all be here sipping a beer as the shelling begins, not knowing that my loved ones might be going to their final days.”

The 27-year-old tries not to think about the gathering storm clouds – but she knows all too well how life, families and friendships can be instantly shattered by malevolent Russian president Vladimir Putin.

For she was forced to leave another Ukrainian city after it was seized by Kremlin stooges – and is terrified history will repeat itself after she has worked so hard to create a new life in Kharkiv.

Ekaterina, who fled Donetsk and set up an arts-and-human rights website, says, “I try to not think these thoughts. To calm my fears.

Ekaterina Pereverzeva (above), 27, is struggling to stop fears of war tormenting her as vast numbers of Russian forces mass across the border near her home in Ukraine's second city

Ekaterina Peeverzeva (above), 27-year-old, is trying to put an end to her fears of being a victim of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“But it’s always fearful with this escalation in hostilities. Because I am a victim of the effects, I can see how Putin causes wars. My experiences have taught me to accept my fears.

The thoughtful and elfin woman screams when Putin is mentioned.

She said, “I’d like him to be dead.” “Not just Putin, but also all those who gave orders for the shooting to begin and to declare war.” All of them should be executed.

In all of the talk about an invasion, we forget that Ukraine is in conflict with its hostile neighbour since 2008 when Russian-backed separatists overthrew two of its self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk or Luhansk.

This was Putin’s brutal response – along with the capture of Crimea – to pro-democracy protests that ousted his ally in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

Ekaterina tries not to think about the gathering storm clouds – but she knows all too well how life, families and friendships can be instantly shattered by malevolent Russian president Vladimir Putin. For she was forced to leave another Ukrainian city after it was seized by Kremlin stooges. (Above, Ukrainian soldiers at a check-point in Donetsk on Friday)

Ekaterina tries not to think about the gathering storm clouds – but she knows all too well how life, families and friendships can be instantly shattered by malevolent Russian president Vladimir Putin. After another Ukrainian city was taken by Kremlin stooges, she had to flee. (Above, Ukrainian soldiers at a check-point in Donetsk on Friday)

Kremlin intervention led to the deaths of 14,000 people and the displacement of 2.6 millions, such as Ekaterina. 

While the war on Ukraine’s east flank is largely ignored outside of the country, it has become a recurring theme in the national consciousness.

However, if Putin launches a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, it would be very visible and felt well beyond Ukraine. 

Oleksii Reznikov (Ukraine’s Minister for Defence) stated that a major war could plunge Europe into crisis.

“The appearance suddenly of up to three million Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russian Invasion would be one of the major problems facing European society.”

Moscow denies its troops are in the breakaway Donbas republics, but one woman who witnessed the takeover from the inside is Olena Znatkova (above). As a senior local government official overseeing seven universities, she watched in dismay as colleagues fell for Putin's propaganda about the supposed Ukrainian 'threat'. She said the beliefs of the pro-democracy protests 'resonated' with her

Moscow claims its troops are not in the Donbas republics. However, Olena Znatkova was one of the women who saw the internal takeover. In her role as a high-ranking local government official responsible for seven universities, Znatkova watched with dismay how colleagues accepted Putin’s false propaganda about Ukraine’s ‘threat. The beliefs of pro-democracy protests resonated with her, she said.

Tom Tugendhat MP (chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee), echoes his view and visited the country last Wednesday. 

“We have seen numerous Ukrainians expelled from their eastern homes, as well as Russia’s allies Belarus weaponising migrants towards Nato countries such as Poland or Lithuania,” he stated. It is not difficult to wonder how many additional people Moscow plans on driving over the frontier into Europe.

An estimated 1.5 million Ukrainians are internally displaced in Ukraine, a nation with 44 million inhabitants. Others have migrated to Russia and other parts of Europe. 

However, aid organizations believe that this number may be much greater because so many immigrants have not registered to become citizens after moving in with relatives and friends. 

Most remained in Russian-speaking eastern parts of Ukraine, such as Kharkiv – areas where there are fears Putin might use his Special Forces to try to trigger some kind of provocation as an excuse to send tanks over the border.

Ekaterina’s post perfectly illustrates the complexity of identity issues and interwoven ties among communities in this region of eastern Europe.

She was born in Russia to Ukrainian parents.

A Ukrainian paratrooper is seen stationed on the frontline near Stanytsia Luhanska, Luhansk Region, Ukraine on Friday

One Ukrainian paratrooper can be seen on Friday stationed near Stanytsia Luhanska in Luhansk, Ukraine

In her teen years, she moved to Donetsk and declared that she was Ukrainian. After pro-democracy protests resulted in the arrival of Russian covert troops, she had to leave her home and her brother behind.

They were then operating, and she witnessed conflict between them in Donetsk.

Ekaterina remembers hearing radio broadcasts of shots and missiles being fired at the airport. 

Most of her school and university friends have also left – except for one who now heads the Donetsk regime’s youth party.

According to her, ‘He’s in charge of brainwashing the children and telling them lies about Putin as their ally. As many families fleeing displacement, theirs went home with very little.

Only one-eighth of the people who fled are currently in permanent housing. This is because they struggle to rebuild their lives after losing their homes and work.

Ekaterina stated that she had never spoken about Donetsk until recent times to ease the exile pain. She had to leave our conversation to cry in silence on the toilet, even though she was able to speak clearly.

A woman claimed that her husband had been tortured by separatists and beat her. This led to her divorce.

The third woman said her daughter needed mental health help.

Kharkiv (the former capital of Ukraine) is only 30 minutes from the Russian border. There are approximately 180,000 internally displaced persons. Many are scared by Kremlin military build-ups so close to new homes.

Alina Foklina (above), 38, is mentally preparing a list of possessions to grab if forced to flee again with her daughter. 'Putin does not look a sane person,' she said. 'I feel tense all the time – as if I want to curl up on the floor like a child'

Alina Foklina (above), 38 is mentally making a list with a few possessions she will grab in case her daughter has to run again. According to her, “Putin doesn’t look like a rational person.” ‘I feel tense all the time – as if I want to curl up on the floor like a child’

People who fled the conflict feel anxious. People say they lost Donetsk or Luhansk. We can’t lose Kharkiv,” Eugenia Levinshtein is the manager of Ukrainian Borders. This charity provides psychological and financial support to those who have been displaced. 

She added: ‘These are people who lost all their property – sometimes family members – and started life from scratch in a new city without any help from the state. It is very frightening to imagine that their new lives could soon be destroyed.

With funds coming from overseas partners, the charity will be able to purchase vehicles and transport people in crisis. Eugenia explained that the charity is preparing for the worst case scenario.

Alina Foklina (38), mentally plans to take a list with her possessions in case she is forced to leave again. According to her, “Putin doesn’t look like a rational person.” ‘I feel tense all the time – as if I want to curl up on the floor like a child.’

After joining pro-democracy demonstrations in small groups with friends, Alina was forced to flee Stahanov (a Luhansk town) after waving the blue and yellow flags of Ukraine near Lenin’s statue.

‘I wanted to keep the country united and become European – less corrupt, more open,’ she said. They were first met with jeers by pro-Russians. Then, there was violence.

At the mention of Putin's name, Ekaterina bristles. 'I would like him to die,' she says. 'Not only Putin but all the people giving the orders to start the shooting, to start wars. I want them all to die'

Ekaterina gets agitated at mentions of Putin’s names. Ekaterina says that she would love for him to be dead. “Not just Putin, but also all those who gave orders for the shooting to begin and to declare war.” They all should die.

She and her other friends were attacked on the streets. Their cars also suffered damage. Her boyfriend was abducted and tortured in the basement. In his garage, one man was killed.

After the regional referendum on self-rule was widely discredited, Alina fled. ‘In our town, there was our small group of pro-Ukrainians, a slightly bigger group of pro-Russians – but most just wanted their lives to carry on with no warfare.’ 

It was heartbreaking to flee the town where she grew up, went to school and built a car-painting business – but she believed it would be for just a fortnight until the tensions cooled. “We only had one suitcase, with some summer clothes.

She has never returned – having discovered that she had been sentenced to death for participating in protests. Her father was also a separatist sympathizer and she has never spoken to her since.

For her, life in Kharkiv has been a struggle – relying on piecemeal work, moving apartments several times, unable to visit dying friends and seeing her teenage daughter suffer mental health problems that led to hospitalisation last year.

Alina isn’t worried about regretting anything, even though I asked her if she has any thoughts for the future. She said that if she watches the news, or looks at pictures of Russian military equipment it makes her feel like her whole body is again in danger.

Moscow says its troops have not been sent to the Donbas republics. However, Olena Zatkova is one of the few women who saw the invasion from inside. 

In her role as a high ranking local government official, overseeing seven universities she was dismayed at the way colleagues accepted Putin’s false propaganda about Ukraine’s ‘threat. The beliefs expressed by the protesters for democracy’resonated with’ her.

“It was an awakening for me that people took to the streets in order to make a difference, to create more freedom and to open the country up to them.

But most colleagues disagreed. The order was given to her that universities stop such demonstrations and not hoist their national flag. 

Olena was presented with a loyalty pledge to the new republic. Knowing that her refusal to sign it would make her an enemy, she fled to hide at the home of her parents.

Their house was three miles from the Russian border, so she saw Kremlin tanks roll past – then decided to escape after the fighting intensified and debris from a downed Ukrainian aircraft landed on their property. Olena (50) said that it seemed like there were fighting all around and that everything was on fire.

“I believed we all could die.” “So I left and said goodbye.

They eventually made it to Kharkiv after she gave up all her possessions, except for her passport.

Since then, this civil servant – who once owned a three-bedroom home in Luhansk – has stayed at friends’ flats and university dormitories with her daughter, relying on donated clothes and eating student meals.

She has also helped to move approximately 1,500 people, as well as seven Luhansk universities, back into Ukraine.

While stocking up in coffee, water and tobacco at her office, she is preparing for another conflict. She tells me defiantly that she has started a new lifestyle here, moved all the people she knows, and will never leave.

Instead of being afraid she said, “I feel angry very angry. Initialy, I was emotional. However, now I am emotionally depleted.

However, when I inquire about Putin from her, this middle-aged, gentle bureaucrat replies, “I hope that he dies.”

Such words express the anguish of their silent suffering – along with the pain that their traumas are being stoked again by the sabre-rattling thug in the Kremlin.

Ex-squaddies fighting in trenches alongside Ukraine troops

By SCARLET HOWES, ABUL TAHHER for Sunday’s Mail 

An ex-british soldier who fought in Ukraine during World War II has spoken out about Russian Invasion Threats, insisting that he would fight the Russians.

Shaun Pinner, a UK citizen, is just one of ten who traveled to Ukraine’s war-torn east region to confront pro-Moscow separatists.

This 48-year old, who is originally from Bedfordshire, was married to a Ukrainian girl for four years.

Pinner served previously in the Royal Anglian Regiment. He said he was an ‘contract soldier’ who fought alongside the Ukrainian army.

He spoke from a trench 10 miles away from Mariupol and said that he was here to defend his family and adoptive city. Russia started this war – it’s funded by Russia and driven by Russia. We will not let them down, we promise.

A former British soldier fighting in Ukraine has spoken about the Russian invasion threat, insisting: 'We will fight them, make no mistake about that.' Shaun Pinner (above) is one of at least ten UK nationals who have travelled to the country's wartorn eastern region, known as the Donbas, to take on pro-Moscow separatists

An ex-british soldier who fought in Ukraine has said that Russia is a threat and said: “We will fight them. Make no mistake about it. Shaun Pinner (above), is one of the at least 10 UK citizens who has traveled to Ukraine’s war-torn east region to confront pro-Moscow separatists.

Pinner stated that fighting in trenches is ‘like hell’ with snipers only 600m away. He added: ‘Separatists are now using drones to drop bombs and mortars – along with automatic grenade launchers and RPG rockets. There are always snipers and small arms fire nearly every day.

“Ukrainian forces can respond when we consider our lives threatened”, while separatists are free to fire whenever they like.

“Sometimes it is very scary, no matter what level of experience you have with it. Sometimes you hear it [explosions]You can continue to follow the contact line further, and then it ripples throughout your position. This is why you have time to cover yourself and you might get an alert before you dive. The distance between snipers and you is less than 600m.

This veteran British soldier has to deal with death and life situations every day. But one instance from three years ago is a standout.

“I was hit by artillery in 2019 from my position. That was the worst thing that could have happened to me.

“Over three days, six people were killed at my place. As I was changing over, another person and me were jumping from one crater into the next. We moved between explosions and shots while we did a switchover. Our men were killed only after we managed to return to the rear. It took time for it to sink in.

Pinner stated, “This will be my ninth tour of war.” Since childhood, death has been an integral part of me. There is no way to know if you’ll be injured or killed before you go.

More than 14,000 people have been killed over the past eight years of conflict since Kremlin-backed forces seized large areas of eastern Ukraine alongside the border with Russia. They include the Donbas region (above) which is currently run by Vladimir Putin stooges in their own mini-fiefdoms from the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk

Since the Kremlin-backed force seized vast areas of eastern Ukraine near the border to Russia, over 14,000 people were killed. This includes the Donbas area (above), currently run by Vladimir Putin puppets, from Donetsk und Luhansk.

‘I fear for my life. We will be treated differently by the Russians if captured as British citizens. This is always on my mind – that I will be captured.

“I am not just another war junkie. I’ve done better than many Ukrainians. My parachute training was completed as part of my Ukrainian army soldier service.

Over the eight-year conflict, more than 14,000 have died since Kremlin-backed troops seized large parts of eastern Ukraine near the Russian border.

This includes the Donbas area, currently controlled by Vladimir Putin and his minions from Luhansk (Donetsk)

With more than 100,000 Russian troops stationed on Ukraine’s borders north, east, and south, 90 tons of US ‘lethal assistance’ were sent to the country.

The military aid package, worth £147 million, included ammunition for ‘front-line defenders’. It was delivered a day following warnings by Antony Blinken (US Secretary of State) about a harsh US response to Russia’s invasion.

Ukraine’s intelligence services accused Russia of sending fuel and weapons to proRussian militias at the Donbas Frontline.

According to it, the Russians had sent 7,008 tons of fuel, tanks, and self-propelled guns units to the frontline areas.

Yesterday it was revealed that Sergei Shoigu (Russian Defence Minister) accepted an invitation from Ben Wallace to talk with him in London, early next week, to attempt to diffuse tensions.