Ukrainians of recaptured Balakliya react with tears and relief

In the newly-liberated areas, relief and sorrow are intertwined as accounts emerge of torture and killings during the long months of Russian occupation.
Balakliya was liberated on September 8 after being occupied for more than six months. The epicentre of the brutality was the city’s police station, which Russian forces used as their headquarters.
Ukraine says it has reclaimed 300 communities – home to about 150,000 people. But Russia still holds large parts of the country. The hasty retreat may signal Ukraine struck first where the Russian defences were weakest.

Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid travelled to the newly recaptured city of Balakliya. There, she spoke to people about their lives under Russian occupation.

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