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“Some people here remain quiet and prefer to wait, not to speak out until it is all over,” said Mr. Maximovich. “When the Ukrainian army comes in it would be best for separatists not to remain here as the people will deal with them [harshly] after all that has happened.”

The control that rebel forces have exerted over Donetsk not only has separated it from the rest of the Ukraine, but also has broken apart families here as well.

“I have a sister in Kiev, a brother in Vinnytsia [in western Ukraine],” said Ms. Vladimirovna. “They’ve stopped talking to me.”

“They say that I am with the separatists, with [Viktor] Yanukovich,” she added, referring to the Ukrainian president who fled office in February after months of anti-government protests kicked off by his decision to scuttle an association agreement with the EU in favor of closer ties with Moscow. “Before we were as one, now they have divided us, and we have no way out.”

This article is based in part on wire service reports.