Donetsk's Bus No. 6

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Bus no. 6 runs everyday from Donetsk train station and the suburbs of Pesky. The area is dotted with shrapnel holes, a bust stop has been hit a few days ago and many buildings are destroyed. Its driver, Aleksander, risks his life to bring people back home. He tells of how he is scared of this job, and how absurd is to keep on riding a bus under the bombs. Bus no. 6 was hit by shrapnel splinters a few days after this report. Two people died and Aleksander was wounded.

Buses are often caught in the crossfire, struck by stray artillery or rockets, causing civilian casualties. After the ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists was breached in September, 2014, fighting has continued to escalate. The latest escalation in fighting in Donetsk left several dead when their bus was hit by a shell.

According to Kiev, over 5,000 have died so far in the conflict.


  1. voiceover
    (00:00:02) The market near the Donetsk train station has been shelled many times in the past months. Nevertheless, sellers are still here. War destruction is surrounded by goods for sale
  2. voiceover
    (00:00:19) The station has been closed long time ago. No trains or passengers. The spray writing on the left luggage reads “Shelter"
  3. voiceover
    (00:00:30) The underground passage is still crowded. It is the only way for people who live in the Kuybishevsky district to go home.
  4. voiceover
    (00:00:40) Aleksander drives the bus number 6, that goes from the station up to the northern districts, where fight has never stopped.
  5. voiceover
    (00:00:50) Aleksander’s bur makes a round trip to the war. His ride is now only half of the original one, not to drive straight in the middle of the battle. A little more than 2 kilometres along Marshala Zhiukova street; just a couple of stops before u-turning to the starting point. Just enough to risk one's life. The few passengers get off at first stops, because nobody lives in the northern part of Kuybishevsky anymore. When the last passenger gets the bus, Aleksander's daily nightmare begins.
  6. soundbite (Russian)
    Aleksander, bus driver: 00:01:19 Yesterday I worked till the evening. I didn’t make it here. Right here where the market is, they started shelling. You can see the holes, one after another. Right here at 12 a 120mm hit the ground. Four more shells there.
  7. voiceover
    (00:01:54) Once arrived at the end of his route, Aleksander must wait three minutes before driving the same way back.
  8. soundbite (Russian)
    Aleksander, bus driver: 00:02:10 You can see the airport tower right there. It’s where Ukrainians are. Be careful, we’re on the snipers line.
  9. soundbite (Russian)
    Aleksander, bus driver: 00:02:25 I’m scared, that’s obvious. Everithing here has been hit. The swimming pool, three times. And the bus stop, twice.
  10. voiceover
    (00:02:42) When we are back at the train station, Aleksander plays a sound recorded with his mobile a few nights before.
  11. voiceover
    (00:03:03) Two days after this reportage, the bus number 6 has been hit by splinter from a shrapnel. Two died and eight were wounded, including Aleksander. But other drivers keep on driving under the bombs.