Strong winds blow over Manganets in southern Ukraine. It comes from the Dnipro River, from the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant occupied by Russian troops, which Kyiv and Moscow accuse each other of bombing. Marganets is thirteen kilometers away on the other side of the river. The leafy hilltop town is under Ukrainian control, but a Soviet-era station can be found among the bushes.
“You know, if we die, it will happen in a second, we won’t suffer,” 30-year-old Anastasia wants to believe. “Knowing that my child and my family will not suffer gives me peace,” she says bravely, continuing her shopping. The center of this pre-war industrial town of 50,000 people appears to be bustling, contrary to alarming rumors about the condition of the plant’s six furnaces.
“I’m afraid for my parents, for myself. I want to live and enjoy life,” says 18-year-old Ksenia, serving customers from a coffee kiosk on the main commercial street. “We’re constantly afraid. And reports say that the situation in the plant is very tense and is getting more dire by the second.
“Total coffee junkie. Tv ninja. Unapologetic problem solver. Beer expert.”