A biography of Winston Churchill sits on Stephan Machsma’s desk.
Machsma is the mayor of Sartana, Ukraine, and he is leading the town’s approximately 10,000 residents through their own darkest hour.
On Sunday night, starting around 10 p.m., combined Russian-separatist forces shelled Sartana with 122-mm and 152-mm artillery for about 25 minutes. The attack killed three, injured six, and damaged 170 homes. It was the fifth time combined Russian-separatist weapons have struck Sartana, including a Grad rocket attack on Oct. 4, 2014 that hit a funeral procession and killed seven.
After Sunday’s shelling, Machsma said he went to the local library and checked out the book on Churchill.
“I want to use the experiences of great people for inspiration,” he said. “We cannot just learn from our mistakes.”