Boredom, loneliness plague Ukrainian youth near front line

SLOVIANSK, Ukraine (AP) — Anastasiia Aleksandrova doesn’t even look up from her phone when the thunder of nearby artillery booms through the modest home the 12-year-old shares with her grandparents on the outskirts of Sloviansk in eastern Ukraine.

With no one her age left in her neighborhood and classes only online since Russia’s invasion, video games and social media have taken the place of the walks and bike rides she once enjoyed with friends who have since fled.

“She communicates less and goes out walking less. She usually stays at home playing games on her phone,” Anastasiia’s grandmother, Olena Aleksandrova, 57, said of the shy, lanky girl who likes to paint and has a picture of a Siberian tiger hanging on the wall of her bedroom.

Anastasiia’s retreat into digital technology to cope with the isolation and stress of war that rages on the front line just seven miles

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Column: Artisans in Ukraine share what life looks like | Opinion

Their words come across my computer screen, words of explanation and description, dashed plans and new realizations.

I received them with no trouble in my cluttered South Carolina office. They’re from two young women in Ukraine. I “know” them because I’m their customer. Iryna is “Iryna Fleur,” a cold porcelain floral artist in Kyiv. July and her partner, Alex, make and sell vegan bags through their small business, Good Mood Moon, in Kharkiv. Both are “star sellers” on Etsy, an American online company through which you can buy all manner of things — many handmade — from all over the world.

Shopping on Etsy is like shopping on an endless Main Street of mom-and-pop specialty stores. Just as you’d have friendly conversations with the owners of brick-and-mortar shops, so it is with Etsy. When I asked Iryna, July and Alex if they’d be willing to answer some questions for this

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