If we would need to find the place where you can have the best insight and comprehension of the whole Donbass war, it would undoubtedly be the village of Zaytsevo.
Since four years, like the whole Donbass region, the village of Zaytsevo is split in two parts by the front line. Families and friends, living sometimes just at a few hundred meters one from each other, are now separated by the trenches of the two enemy armies.
On one side, the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), and its army based on voluntary engagement, which recruits mainly men and women originating from the Donbass region, and some foreign volunteers. Most of the DPR soldiers serve near the place they live or were born in. They defend their land, their town, their family.
On the other side, the post-Maidan Ukraine, and its army based on compulsory enlistment and integration of ultra-nationalist battalions (whose staff is partly volunteers who are here for political ideas and partly mercenaries who are here just for money).
Between the two armies, there is not only a physical gap between trenches, there is mainly an ideological gap between two completely different worldviews.
While Ukrainian soldiers deliberately shoot civilians, whilst pretending to come and free them from a Russian occupier who does not exist, the DPR soldiers are doing their best to defend these civilians while respecting the ceasefire agreed in Minsk.
While Ukrainian army wants to seize and cleanse Donbass from pro-Russian people, the DPR soldiers just ask the Ukrainian soldiers to go back home, do what they want with their part of what was Ukraine, and let Donbass people live like they want, and with whom they want.
All of these facts are visible in this little village of Zaytsevo. Go for a travel of 22 minutes in this war, through the daily life of civilians and soldiers who live in and defend Zaytsevo: