I received some details about the battles at Shirokino from the First Slavyansk Brigade who had conducted combat operations there, repulsing enemy units during the “Turchinov offensive.” As expected, behind Turchinov’s noisy PR action there was another lot of dead men who paid with their lives for the informational phantoms. According to the Brigade, in these battles the enemy lost around 150 men killed and wounded (though it is not clear whether this number includes losses of the Sich Battalion or whether those should be considered separately). In fact, not for nothing do even fans of the junta call Turchinov “the bloody pastor.”
In spite of recurrent ceasefires the confrontation at Mariupol has been in the acute phase for a long time. One can even say more—the acute phase has become chronic. Despite the fact that the war is positional—mostly exchanging artillery strikes—from time to time the soldiers of the so-called territorial battalions conduct desperate attacks on the Militia’s positions at Novoazovsk. Doomed attacks.
Electronic notes of Elena Lavrova, a resident of besieged Gorlovka, which in their tone are remarkably similar to diaries from the Siege of Leningrad.
«…Every evening, a group of believers walks around the perimeter of our neighbourhood with icons and prayers. Local level defence. It’s touching… Today… I suddenly wanted to cry. Had to suppress this stupid desire, because it was pointless and unproductive. The desire to cry won’t make water appear in the house, nor make food for the cats or for me available in the shops. You can only grit your teeth and endure… …When the Ukrainian Army’s shells smashed the water system, the whole Stroitel borough went to the springs with large plastic bottles. The closest to my house—three kilometers each way. Two times a day. Total twelve km. Six of them carrying a heavy load…»
Those lines are from the Facebook pages of Elena Lavrova, an ordinary resident of Gorlovka. For the past few months she has been telling the news to almost a thousand subscribers. Cruel, tragic, but not lacking in irony and an undercurrent of optimism. There would not seem to be any place for the latter in the city, which, since August, with brief intervals during the truce, has been shelled almost daily. But Elena Leonidovna has an amazing faith in the best. Her soul is broad by the standards of today’s cynical times. For several years she has been collecting and nursing abandoned cats. Today, in her home, which stands almost on the front-line, there are more than thirty animals. In recent months, they were joined by ‘abandonnés’ of the war.
Since August, the Stroitel district has been haunted by Ukrainian artillery. Here, every block of flats has been hit. With dozens of strikes… All the bus stops and shops have been smashed by shelling. Still, on the phone, Elena Lavrova advised us to hide the car in the courtyard, put it somewhere near the wall and be prepared for the fact that firing could start at any moment.
It has been over six months since I joined the SLAVYANGRAD project, founded by Gleb Bazov. I know that there are so many people from different countries all over the world who support the Donbass. Throughout our time we have received a lot of emails from our readers who wanted to provide the people of Novorossiya with financial support, and asked us to forward their money, but we were never able to deal with such issues.
This humanitarian aid was organised over the course of one week. I was preparing to return home—to my home town of Perevalsk, and, just before doing so, I told my friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter: “I am going home and I plan to organise a humanitarian supply to my fellow countrymen in the LPR. Everybody willing to contribute can donate.” To my surprise, many kind people from different countries responded, particularly from Switzerland, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and France. They were mainly the volunteers from our team and our readers. Continue reading
The Militia opened a humanitarian corridor for the residents and organised the evacuation. The Ukrainian side did not want to let the civilians cross their front line.
People started leaving the town early in the morning. We ran into the first group of refugees already on Gorlovka’s outskirts. Packed cars with windows steamed on the inside and white sheets, scarves on aerials and mirrors. People had hardly any belongings with them—they escaped with only the clothes they were wearing and had filled the vehicles to the brim. Then we saw a few Urals with children in the cabs. The first transfer point is at the administrative building of one of the mines. Here, the Militia is checking ID papers—a lot of Ukrainian soldiers are left in the city, hiding in basements, abandoned flats and houses. There are no delays here—passports are quickly looked at and everyone goes on to Makeevka, where the refugees are fed and dispersed to temporary accommodation.
“The city centre, so to say, is no more,” says one resident, Lyudmila Vladimirovna. “The day before yesterday it was demolished by Grads launched from Debaltsevo. What corridors? We’re escaping by ourselves. Getting out of the basements and running. We live in the outskirts, so we don’t know anything. There’s no communications. No power, nowhere to charge your phone.”
“We escaped from Uglegorsk,” a man says. “There’s firing there. There’s nothing left of Uglegorsk. In our house the third floor is burnt out, the second floor is holed. And the Grads come at us from Debaltsevo at will.”
“My parents remain in Groznoe village, near Uglegorsk, I don’t know how to get them out of there,” cries a woman, Valya. “Everything’s smashed. Three days we’ve lain on the floor in the flat. Then we managed to get to the basement, we crawled there. Five days we couldn’t leave, couldn’t leave the house—they were firing at us. I don’t know who it was—they were flying the Ukrainian flag. They were running around the entrances to our blocks of flats firing their guns. Twice our house was shelled.”
- for the Ukrainian troops: from the actual line of contact;
- for the armed formations of certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions of Ukraine: from the line of contact in accordance with the Minsk Memorandum of September 19, 2014.
The withdrawal of heavy weapons set out above shall begin no later than the second day after the cease-fire and end within 14 days.
This process will be assisted by the OSCE, with the support of the Trilateral Contact Group.
Original article in Russian by A. Kots and D. Steshin
Translated by Alya Bailey / Edited by Alan Bailey
“Nobody wants to go to the Donetsk People’s Republic!” internet warriors—both volunteers and paid ones—are gloating. The Ukrainian authorities conducted a massive propaganda campaign in the ATO area directed against helpless ordinary people. Let us remind you that the day before Kiev suggested having a day long ceasefire in the Debaltsevo area in order to evacuate the civilians from the battle area. The Ukrainian side confirmed that the refugees would be able to choose where to go—either Donetsk or Slavyansk.
Early in the morning a convoy of buses left Donetsk for Debaltsevo. Two OSCE cars accompanied it. We waited for its return to the town of Uglegorsk which is controlled by the Militia.
On Friday it was unusually quiet there although you could hear the distant rumble of artillery in spite of ceasefire that was in place. The streets seemed completely empty. The wind was blowing on the wrecks of destroyed tanks. White curtains were billowing trough broken windows of damaged buildings. Every square metre of the town had signs of heavy combat. The tarmac was scattered with spent bullets and shell splinters. DPR soldiers were digging in on the positions formerly belonging to the Ukraine Army. Sometimes some of the very few remaining residents came here. Continue reading