Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Fighting in the Eeastern Ukraine surges

January 31, 2017 (Euronews) Fighting in east Ukraine has escalated, with reports that at least seven government soldiers and 15 pro-Russian separatists have been killed over the past two days. Ukrainian defence officials accused what they said were ‘Russian occupying forces’ of firing towards the eastern frontline town of Avdiivka, while separatist leaders blamed government forces for the spike in violence. Houses in Makiyivka to the south of Avdiivka were damaged, one resident described the moment the fighting erupted. “I was in the garden when I heard incoming shelling. When the third shell hit that house I ran to the cellar. That’s what saved me,” he said.
Typical view of Avdiivka's suburb

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko cut short a trip to Germany to oversee the emergency situation in Avdiivka. The surge in violence comes after Donald Trump had his first phone call with the Russian President, in which they discussed the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. The latest casualties add to the estimated 10,000 already killed in the three-year battle over territory near the Ukraine-Russia border.
                                    There are thousands of such "Russian sourenirs"scattered around in Avdiyivka.
Recaptured from pro-Russian rebels in 2014, Avdiivka is a key stronghold for the Ukrainian army which it is desperately trying to retain. The town is close to rebel-controlled Donetsk and important roads and intersections used by the rebels to transport machinery and ammunition. Just as important is the town's coking and chemical plant - the biggest of its kind in Europe. If it fell into rebel hands it would cut much-needed supplies to Ukraine's steel industry.
On Sunday we have lost three valiant defenders of Avdiivka: Andrew Kyzylo (year of birth : 1993), Volodymyr Balchenko (year of birth : 1992), and Dmytro Overchenko (year of birth : 1989).