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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ukraine: Fierce battles continue in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Donetsk airport destroyed and left

Ukrainian tank in the zone of an anti-terrorist operation in
Donetsk region
(Image: News Kyiv Ukraine)
New round of fierce attacks of pro-Russian terrorists and Russian forces against Donetsk International airport and against the positions of Ukrainian forces in the anti-terrorist operation zone continues during more than a week, violating the terms of the Minsk agreement and making the next round of the talks to be held soon nearly impossible.

16 January, turned to be one of the most violent and bloodiest days for Ukraine and Ukrainian military as Ukrainian soldiers defending Donetsk airport  were attacked with the new terrorist and Russian forces, and the battles still continue, with the terrorists using rounds of heavy fire against Ukrainian Army.

Saturday, 17 January, was marked by the new and stronger assaults of the terrorists against Ukrainian soldiers holding Donetsk airport. Ukrainian artillery supports the airport defenders, destroying some of the separatists' fire positions and reportedly leaving numerous dead and wounded on the enemy's side. Though, the situation at the airport remains extremely tense and dangerous, with at least three Ukrainian soldiers killed and at least 23 soldiers wounded during the latest battles, that didn't stop even in the night.

One of the most massive and fiercest battles occurred on Saturday near Donetsk airport, as Ukrainian soldiers, paratroopers and volunteers' battalions attempted to create the "Road of Life" for the airport defenders, moving forth into the city of Donetsk and leading the fight in the districts of the city, where the strongholds of the separatists and Russians are located. Their aim was to secure the safe exit for the wounded fighters of the airport.

Ten Ukrainian T-64 tanks made their way to the aerial navigation tower under the heavy fire of the enemy's artillery and Grad missiles, and then to the monastery, where the separatists had their stronghold in the city. The soldiers' task was to push the separatists and Russians back fron their positions next to the airport and to ensure the safe passage for the wounded Ukrainian fighters.

The area of Donetsk airport
(Image: Ukraine Today)
The tanks maneuvers were supported by the artillery and missiles, while the paratroopers were supported by the troops located in the city of Pisky close to Donetsk. Fighters of the Risgh Sector also participated in the battle actively supporting Ukrainian army.

As a result of the separatists' fire a factory in the neighboring Makiivka was set of fire, and at lest three factory workers got wounded.

The battle near the airport lasted for about two hours, and Ukrainian soldiers destroyed several strong positions and fortifications of an enemy. The glorious 93rd Brigade of Ukrainian Armed Forces managed to push the terrorists back from their positions and got into the city of Donetsk, moving for several kilometers onside of the city, controlled by the separatists and Russians, and clearing the territory around the airport. 10 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded during the battle, and the main task of creating the "Road of Life" was fulfilled. Situation at the airport remains tense, but evacuation of the wounded fighters has started.

Meanwhile on Sunday, 18 January, Ukrainian soldiers fighting in Donetsk airport and in its area have received the orders of the commando to open massive fire on the terrorists and their positions. The battle continued during the day, while the evacuation of the wounded soldiers was organized. Ukrainian side has list three soldiers during the Saturday's fight for the airport, while 31 soldiers were wounded. As for the terrorists' losses, at least 64 of them were reported to be killed.

Sunday was also marked by the fierce battles in the city of Mariupol, close to the city if Donetsk.. Wednesday was marked by the new attacks of the city, but Ukrainian army though continue holding and controlling it The positions at the airport are also under control of Ukraine, despite the fact that the situation remains tense.

The fierce battles for Donetsk airport and the area around it continue throughout the entire week, as Ukrainian soldiers still hold their positions despite the heavy attacks of Russian soldiers and pro-Russian terrorists. Fights occur also in some districts of the city of Donetsk and some neighboring towns and villages as well. It’s worth mentioning also that the rebels intensified shooting missiles on the villages and cities of Donetsk and Luhansk regions leaving casualties and numerous wounded among the civilians as well.

During the latest days though the situation in an anti-terrorist operation zone remained extremely tense, as at least one soldier was killed and several soldiers were wounded. Massive shooting of the separatists and Russian troops continued, as they attempted to take the bigger territory under their control, according to Andriy Lysenko, official spokesperson of an anti-terrorist operation bureau.

Luhansk, Donetsk and Debaltseve directions came under massive fire again, as the terrorists were using tanks and heavy artillery against Ukrainian armed forces.

Military operation is being launched in Donetsk International airport, which lasts for several days. Additional troops and weapons were deployed to support Ukrainian soldiers defending the airport, rotation of the soldiers was also carried out. The operation is being controlled by General Colonel Viktor Muzhenko, who is currently a Head of the main office of an anti-terrorist operation in Eastern Ukraine.

Watch tower of Donetsk International airport
(Image: Kyiv Post)
Though, the situation in Donetsk airport is still hard and tense. Terrorists and pro-Russian rebels have carried out several explosions in the terminal controlled by Ukrainian forces, leaving dozens injured. But Ukrainian soldiers continue to hold their positions, and the losses of an enemy are huge, including people and weapons as well.

Oleksandr Turchinov, Secretary General of the National Defense and Security Council, was expected to arrive in Donetsk airport and its area.

In addition to that, Russia intensifies its military presence on Ukrainian territory and along the border as well, according to Ukrainian intelligence and officials. Thus, Russian soldiers without insignia were noticed in Luhansk region, while nearly 60 tanks, 50 BTR and other heavy weapon and military technique were reported to be deployed in Krasnodon, close to the border. More than 100 tanks are concentrated in the area of Shakhtarsk and Torez as well. Russia also continues supporting the rebels with technique and weapons and sending new soldiers as well. Russian officials though denied presence of Russian regular army on Ukrainian territory.


Meanwhile, new wave of mobilization has officially started in Ukraine, while Ukrainian authorities claim the decrees declaring the martial law and war with Russia are ready and signed and could be announced under certain circumstances, such as attempts of Russians to significantly intensify its presence in Eastern Ukraine and new regions, such as Chernigiv or Kharkiv regions. Though there are no reasons to declare war at the current stage, as it could cut all financial aids and support for Ukraine, stated officials.

UPDATE. According to the reports Donetsk airport was totally destroyed on Wednesday night, 21 January. The watch tower and the buildings of the both terminals are destroyed, and Ukrainian soldiers defending the airport left it. It was also confirmed by the representatives of Ukrainian army and the reporters working at the airport.