Article by: Taras Klochko
Last night Ukrainian “cyborgs” left the Donetsk airport. The facility, on which $875 million had been spent in preparation for Euro 2012, has now been turned into a pile of rubble.
The decision to leave the airport has been expected to some extent since the Ukrainian “cyborgs” had been able to remain there only because of the surprisingly solid construction of the new terminal, which had withstood many heavy artillery attacks. But reinforced concrete is not permanent, and the number of possible places that could be used as cover decreased with every new shelling. In recent days the control tower was destroyed and the ceiling of the second floor of the new terminal collapsed. The buildings were being hit by direct fire and clinging to them while bearing losses became quite meaningless. All the more so since the airport has not had any strategic importance for quite some time, as it can no longer receive aircraft because of the destruction.
But be that as it may, the defense of the Donetsk airport will remain forever in history an example of Ukrainian courage. The defense of the airport lasted from May 26, 2014 to January 22, 2015 — 242 days. This is longer than lasted the defense of most “hero cities” of the USSR during WWII. Ukrainian “cyborgs” defended the airport for as long as there was something to defend, and this is why the terrorists will not get much benefit from capturing razed buildings.
Actually, the defense of the airport has always been complicated by the location of its buildings next to the absolutely level runway area, which is very easy to shell from all directions. The only places that could be held for a longer time were the buildings of the new terminal and the control tower, of which hardly anything now remains.
Therefore, after 242 days of fierce fighting, the terrorists finally gained a pile of rubble that can be shelled easily from Ukrainian positions. If our troops maintain Pisky, Opytne and Avdiivka, they will be able to pound the airport from those areas just as the terrorists did for 242 days from the confines of Donetsk. Moreover, this will be much easier to do from the surrounding villages.
Thus, the only possible benefit of the captured ruins for the terrorist are bravura photo shoots that will have to be done hastily to avoid being shot. Afterwards, the terrorists will hardly show up there, since using the runway as a springboard for attacks would be, at the very least, reckless.
Therefore, after the retreat of Ukrainian troops, the Donetsk airport will become either a neutral zone where serious battles will no longer take place, or simply serve as a terrorist burial ground. Right now the “cyborgs” need to concentrate on defending the surrounding population centers, most notably Pisky and Avdiivka. Presently, this is more important than trying to recapture and hold at any cost a pile of broken concrete that once used to be the Sergei Prokofiev Donetsk International Airport.