Order from Kiev: “break Donetsk at any cost”

by Tom Winter, Fort Russ

The massive heavy artillery shelling on Donetsk has resumed. In several districts of the city natural gas lines and electric substations are now out of service. Dozens more homes are without power and heat. Dokuchaevsk and Gorlovka are under intense fire. Many wounded, mostly peaceful citizens. At the Donetsk Peoples Republic (DNR) they have no doubt that Kiev is intent on aggravating the situation to the limit, and on striking the most vulnerable.

Explosions are constantly heard, with fresh craters from the incoming shells. Close by, the roof of a house that people were still living in. The outskirts of the town are being systematically destroyed by artillery fire. There are dead and injured: the wounded are constantly being brought into hospitals, most with shrapnel wounds.

“Incoming. Unmistakeably from the Ukrainian side. Yesterday the rockets were flying in from the area between Yasnovatya and Makeevka. You could see the projectiles flying in. Multiple rocket launchers definitely, all with exhaust trails, all plain to see.” —Vladimir Alekseev.

The Ukrainian firing zone is constantly increasing. Reports of new bombardment come in every hour.

A woman in the street: “Right next to our house it came. Right next to our house. Roof, Bam! The trolleys have stopped running; we go by foot now. No public transit.”

“Isn’t walking more dangerous?”

“And where can you get to? All the same, we are still alive.”

Even as the infrastructure is being destroyed, repair crews are already at work, fixing gas and electric lines. “We live here. We keep  the city working,” says Alexander Kigol, repairman from the city gasworks.

“In spite of the continuing attacks?”

“Yes!” replies Mr. Kigol.

Many have gotten used to the mortal danger. After a strike on a residential building on Ochakovski Street, the residents return to their ruined apartment. The roof is gone. Life here without repair will be impossible. The woman from the ruined apartment says “My neighbor says two shells just came in on the other side.”

The people run in short dashes from home to the store. Since a shell may come in at any minute, it is safer to run alongside a wall. This is Gorlovka, and this is what it’s like to live here.

Throughout Gorlovka the Ukrainian forces have attacked with heavy weapons, destroying homes and ruining the streets. At the crossroads, a crater from a “Hurricane” rocket system [see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BM-27_Uragan — Tr.] The hole is as deep as a man’s height. Useless for 500 meters. The people are afraid of new bombardments, and hide themselves in basements.

The Donetsk Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko has arrived in the city, which lies entirely within the destructive zone of Ukrainian artillery. But at least now it is easier to get to it from Donetsk. Since the DNR got the town of Krasniy Partisan, the short road has become clear.

“We’re running short on medicine; it’s hard to keep the hospitals supplied. You have to understand, there are still peaceful citizens here, and pills for internal and cardiac problems are needed, in addition to those medicines that are used to treat the wounded,” said the Prime Minister.

“The DNR militia is counter-attacking trying to drive the Ukrainian forces far enough away, out of range, so that the people can be safe. We have something to fight for.”

“The Donetsk Republic’s army is being restocked with captured trophies. They hit a BMP-2, and are using it for parts; they got a T-64 tank at the airport, damaged, but they’ve repaired it. It will soon be at the front, but now it’s just in the Donetsk tank brigade. Ukrainian forces stormed the Donetsk position there, but were repulsed, and took casualties. The combat continues at the front, as forces controlled by Kiev are attempting to strengthen the economic blockade of the region.”

“The economic blockade is in effect along the whole border, and is contrary to every stipulation of the Minsk accords. Functional checkpoints? No. The transport of any food supply? Stopped. Passenger traffic? No.” explains the Vice premier Denis Pushilin.

No let-up in the intensity of Ukrainian artillery fire on neighborhoods, ever striking deeper, even into the rear of the Donetsk Republic, including industrial zones. January 26, they got the mines, the mines at Skochinski, Abakumov, Trudovski. And at the Zasyadki mine, they got the power station, trapping about 600 miners underground.

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