(Dan Tri) – As fighting between Moscow and Kiev heats up near Kupiansk, Kharkov, many Ukrainians are in a torn situation: Leave and leave everything behind or stay despite the danger from falling bombs and stray bullets.

A woman stands among the ruins of a neighbor’s house destroyed by shelling in the village of Zaoskillya, near Kupiansk (Photo: AFP).

Reuters reported that Ukrainians living in Kupiansk in the Northeast region are in a dilemma when forced to choose between two options: emergency evacuation, leaving behind everything they have built over their lifetime and continuing to cling to their lives.

`If you say that the evacuation of civilians is going smoothly, it will sound ironic,` said Dmytro Lozhenko, who runs a volunteer group helping civilians evacuate the fighting.

Regional authorities announced mandatory evacuation of civilians from the area near Kupiansk earlier this month as the situation has become tense in recent times.

Russia is increasing its efforts to enter the strategically important region of Kharkiv, while Ukraine is seeking to block Russia’s advance.

Kupiansk has recently become an area affected by `a rain of bombs and a storm of bullets` as the fighting between the forces of the two sides became more intense.

Last week, a resident of Kivsharivka said she would evacuate with her children, while her husband decided to stay to take care of his elderly mother.

Responding to Ukrainian media, Lozhenko said about 600 people have evacuated the area in the past 10 days, including more than 120 children.

In one village, people only began to evacuate when two streets were heavily damaged by shelling.

`The worst thing about the evacuation is that people have been living in this conflict for a long time and many of them are very used to shelling,` Lozhenko said.

He admits it was difficult to convince the Kupiansk people, who had adapted to the situation, that they would be safer elsewhere once they evacuated.

Russia controlled Kupiansk in the first months of the military campaign last year until Ukraine regained the area in a rapid counterattack in September 2022.

Liudmila Sezonova, who runs a local honey wholesale business, said when Russia took control of Kupiansk last year, her family decided to hang on.

This time, although she had not yet decided to evacuate as the shelling intensity became increasingly intense, Sezonova decided to pack luggage for herself and her family in advance in case they had no other choice.

According to the New York Times, before the war broke out, Kupiansk had a population of 60,000.

While many who chose to stay said they had grown used to the shelling, they also said they would be ready to leave at a moment’s notice when danger was near.