Ukraine family retreats to cellar during shelling

STORY: For more than a month, this family in eastern Ukraine has had no electricity, gas or running water, but they have no plans to leave.

BOGDAN: "They shell us constantly, there is no help, no water, no food. For literally a month, they don’t bring anything, not even bread. We live on whatever we’ve got here."

The couple, Bogdan and Olga, live in a simple house near the frontline in the Donetsk region with their four children, ages four through 10, and three of the kids’ grandparents. Olga is pregnant with the couple’s fifth child.

The family survive on the food they have grown, baking bread in an oven in the garden and drawing water from a well.

When the shelling starts, they take shelter in a cellar where they have stockpiled provisions.

BOGDAN: "When they shoot, well, we will sit for an hour or two here. And it happened that we sat here for a whole day - so, maybe for an hour outside, but in the basement for a whole day."

But even in there, it’s hard to feel safe, especially for the young ones like their daughter Mira.

MIRA: "I'm a little bit afraid."

Olga worries about the effect the conflict is having on their children.

“We as adults at least know what to do, and the children, well, what will my son do, for example? He is four years old and does not understand yet, thank God, that this is war. He knows that a rocket has flown over us. This he knows, but he does not know what to do in this situation. Therefore, they constantly sit here in the cellar. When there’s shelling, then we run across, we are all together with the children, because we care for each other."

Still, she says the family is determined to hold on to the home they have worked hard for.

"Our property is not fancy, but it is ours, we earned money to build this."

Ukraine aims to evacuate two-thirds of residents from areas it controls in the eastern battleground region of Donetsk as well as other frontline areas before winter.

Authorities describe the evacuation as "mandatory", but residents can opt out by filling in a form declaring their intention to stay.