By Orla Guerin

BBC News, eastern Ukraine

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Queues formed at petrol stations in Kostyantynivka

People living in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kostyantynivka are no strangers to war, but Russia’s invasion has left them fearing for the future.

The city is located in the Donetsk region – near the frontlines in a years-long conflict between the two countries. Part of the region has been in the hands of Kremlin-backed separatists since 2014, while the rest – including Kostyantynivka – is controlled by the Ukrainian government. At least for now.

People were woken on Thursday by distant thuds, as Russian shells hit Ukrainian territory.

From early in the morning, queues began to form at cash machines and petrol stations, as people prepared for the worst.

You could see the shock written on some faces. Many were silent.

Andrei Varleez joined a queue at a petrol station with his wife and sons – one of them just a babe in arms – after hearing the bombardment overnight.

“I heard it clearly. The earth was really shaking so we got up and now we’re waiting for fuel,” he told me. “We will buy some fuel to be mobile in case all the communications are cut.”

In the capital Kyiv and elsewhere in the country, thousands of civilians have been piling onto trains, buses and cars as they try to flee.

But there was no hint of an exodus from Kostyantynivka. Just uncertainty.

“I can’t even understand what we should do. We’re civilians, not military people. Where can we escape to? I don’t know. I have a small child, I can’t escape,” Andrei told me when I asked if he would stay or go.

Like Andrei, people across Kostyantynivka are finding it hard to imagine what the future looks like.

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The streets were quieter than normal on Thursday, as people followed news of the invasion online and on television, and by talking to loved ones elsewhere in the country.

Nurseries were closed. Families were told to stay at home.

But some shops and cafes opened. No-one knows how long this will last.

Children in Kostyantynivka grow up doing bomb drills, and residents are used to having a war on their doorstep. But no-one has seen anything like the invasion Moscow launched on Thursday.

One man spoke to me as he was getting into his car with his young son.

When I asked what he was planning to do, he replied: “I can’t plan. I’ve never been through anything like this.”

Residents here in eastern Ukraine are now left holding their breath, and wondering how much more of their country Vladimir Putin intends to take.

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