Escalation in Avdiivka, Eastern Ukraine: key facts and sources

Many buildings and houses in Avdiivka damaged and destroyed as result of shelling by Russian heavy artillery. (Photo: pravda.com.ua)

Many buildings and houses in Avdiivka damaged and destroyed as result of shelling by Russian heavy artillery. (Photo: pravda.com.ua) 

War in the Donbas

A serious escalation started on 29 January in Avdiivka, a town on Ukrainian government-controlled territory in the Eastern Ukraine, close to demarcation line and 6km to the north of Donetsk. According to official reports, seven Ukrainian soldiers were killed and dozens wounded since fighting intensified. Media also report that 2 civilians were killed. Heavy shelling from separatist-controlled territories also affected residence areas. The town is cut off from electricity, heating, and water.

Here are the key facts about the escalation:

  1. Avdiyivka is of strategic importance for both sides of the conflict. Anastasia Magazowa, correspondent for Deutsche Welle who is currently reporting from Avdyivka, writes that it is a hometown for Avdiivka Coke and Chemical Plant which is one of the biggest coke producers in Europe. Avdiivka town is also a major transport hub in Donetsk region. According to Minsk agreements, Avdiivka belongs to the government-controlled territory. Previously this town has been shelled on numerous occasionsAvdiyivka Avdiivka Avdeevka
  2. Pro-Russian militants started their attacks near Avdiivka on 29 December. Since 31 January the town has been shelled by Grad rockets. Residence districts in Avdiivka have been affected. Escalation is also reported near Mariupol and in Luhansk oblast. Donetsk-based social networks post numerous videos of Grad shelling from Donetsk and suburbs presumably in the Avdiivka direction, but there are also signs that residential districts in Donetsk itself were affected by return shelling.
  3. The humanitarian situation in Avdiivka is very difficult. As a result of the shelling, critical infrastructure of the town has been destroyed. This has caused a humanitarian crisis: civilians have no water, electricity, and heating while the temperature is -18 Celsius and keeps going lower. Mobile heating and food units have been set up in the city. The delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Ukraine has already expressed concerns and is sending humanitarian help. Meanwhile, Ukraine is preparing evacuation —up to 12,000 people can be evacuated, according to Ukrainian official sources. Reporters on the ground say that some inhabitants are already leaving the town.
     

    Destruction in Avdiyivka. Photo: fb.com/Viacheslav Abroskin

  4. The separatists’ offence can be a response to Ukrainian maneuvers, some observers say. Christopher Miller, a correspondent for RFE/RL, writes in his coverage that “since mid-December Ukraine’s armed forces have edged further into parts of the gray zone in or near the war-torn cities of Avdiivka, Debaltseve, Dokuchaievsk, Horlivka, and Mariupol, shrinking the space between them and the separatist fighters.” Alexander Hug, principal deputy chief monitor of the OSCE SMM to Ukraine, quoted in RFE/RL article, said that “direct result of forward moves is escalation in tension.” The Ukrainian side, however, responds that troops were not violating the Minsk agreements as they were not crossing the demarcation line and were moving inside the government-controlled (under Minsk deals) territory. The Ukrainian regional administration also says that it is vital to have government control over towns in the gray zone to stop large-scale smuggling.
  5. Ceasefire guarantees from “DNR” and Russia did not last. There were several attempts to establish a ceasefire, but it has been broken after 15 minutes of less, according to Hromadske journalists who are reporting from Avdiivka. The same information was reported by Pavlo Zhebrivsky, the head of Ukraine’s military and civil administration in government-controlled Donetsk oblast. This video by Anastasia Magazova documents the ceasefire violations during the daytime of 31 January.
  6. Both sides blame each other for the escalation. The escalation took place during Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko’s official visit to Germany, one of the key countries of Normandy format. Poroshenko has cut his official visit to Berlin short and held a briefing with military representatives to coordinate the government’s measures. Ukraine’s foreign ministry issued a statement saying that “the current escalation in Donbas is a clear indication of Russia’s continued disregard of its commitments under the Minsk agreements.” In turn, Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman, accused Ukrainian soldiers of launching an attack on separatists across the Avdiivka frontline. Paradoxically Russian media like TV channel Zvezda also blame Ukraine for shelling Avdiivka itself, as if Ukraine was attacking a town on its own territory. They also continue producing fakes: same TV channel Zvezda, for example, published photo from Avdiivka by Kostiantyn Reutskyi, a Ukrainian activist, falsely claiming they show destruction in a “DNR”-controlled town.
    Left: Photo by Ukrainian activist K.Reutskyi; Right: Zvezda fake news publication using Reutskyi's photo

    Left: Photo from Avdiivka by Ukrainian activist K.Reutskyi; Right: Zvezda’s fake news publication about destruction in a “DNR” town using Reutskyi’s photo

  7. Several media continue live coverage of Avdiivka escalation, including RFE/RL and Hromadske. Regular updates are also provided by Deutsche Welle’s journalist Anastasia Magazova.
Prepared by Vitaliy Rybak, Volodymyr Yermolenko, Internews Ukraine, as well as Alya Shandra, Euromaidan Press, for UkraineWorld group

Edited by: Alya Shandra

Since you’re here – we have a favor to ask. Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine is ongoing, but major news agencies have gone away. But we’re here to stay, and will keep on providing quality, independent, open-access information on Ukrainian reforms, Russia’s hybrid war, human rights violations, political prisoners, Ukrainian history, and more. We are a non-profit, don’t have any political sponsors, and never will. If you like what you see, please help keep us online with a donation!

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments

  1. Avatar туфтуф says:

    Breaking news: minimum 180 ukrosoldiers killed by the LDPR army within the last 2 days. Irrespective of the Minsk agreements, the militia is using heavy artillery including Grad and Uragan on ukropositions. Local morgues full of bodies, so the dead ones are being taken deeper into the “occupied Ukraine”. Poroshenko is expected to raise his concerns tomorrow at the UN security council. Nothing else he can do about it.

    1. Avatar Alex George says:

      Except that the numbers of Ukrainian soldiers killed as of yesterday was seven.

      Its true that more civilians have been killed by Russian fire, which is being particularly focussed on civilian living areas and infrastructure. Nothing new there.

      But your ideas of “180 soldiers killed”, and “local morgues full” are just a Putinista’s wet dream.

      Over 60 dead Russian soldiers are inthe Donetsk morgue, becasue they are being used as cannon fodder in relentless but costly attacks against Ukrainian positions. Meanwhile, the Russian activist Girkin/Strelkov is complaining that separatist troops won’t fight and are fleeing their units in droves. No doubt that is why Russian troops have to be used for these attacks.

      1. Avatar туфтуф says:

        Well u believe the news. Its your choice. I prefer intelligence reports from both sides. They are not meant for the public in order not to create panic.

        1. Avatar Alex George says:

          LOL You never have any intelligence reports. you just make up whatever comes into your head and say you’ll provides sources another time . Old windbag…

          1. Avatar туфтуф says:

            Am sending u my convo soon. But no names.

          2. Avatar Eddy Verhaeghe says:

            I don’t have great expectations…

          3. Avatar Alex George says:

            yes it’s always “soon”, isn’t it? ;o)

          4. Avatar туфтуф says:

            As always soon is soon. Am too lazy. What if you say l wrote the letters myself? I cnt show the originals….

          5. Avatar Eddy Verhaeghe says:

            Well write them and we’ll judge after reading them 😉

          6. Avatar туфтуф says:

            Ok

        2. Avatar Eddy Verhaeghe says:

          туфтуф, the famous double-agent… is apparently afraid that he blew his own cover by posting his photograph ROFL

          1. Avatar туфтуф says:

            Not afraid. All agencies read me and am too old and insignificant.

          2. Avatar Eddy Verhaeghe says:

            An old an insignificant agent gets access to intelligence reports from both sides that are not meant for the public. You are getting more hilarious by the day ROFL

          3. Avatar туфтуф says:

            Me bee no agent
            Am retired
            From railway.

          4. Avatar Brent says:

            it’s called “senility”…..

          5. Avatar Andrew Chmil says:

            more like “an attention ho’ “

          6. Avatar туфтуф says:

            I hope ur comment means l m safe.

        3. Avatar Brent says:

          What the h*ll would you know about “intelligence”???

          You post nothing but lies and moronic comments and routinely get smacked around.

          1. Avatar туфтуф says:

            I upvoted u.

    2. Avatar Murf says:

      BREAKING NEWS; you don’t now sh*t!

      1. Avatar туфтуф says:

        Lolz

    3. Avatar Brent says:

      BREAKING NEWS!!!

      “Toto” the Burmese born pro Russian stooge living in England with his Russian stripper wife IS STILL A LYING IDIOT….. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/10e6d1cd8a766014834c5c6f1628ecc53d1456ac826a7d7cd75ac7ac80ad7c7f.jpg

  2. Avatar туфтуф says:

    A tiny gruz 200, acc to Ukrainian defence ministry, left the front for the territory of Ukraine because the local morgues are full. Someone pls stop this madness, the genocide of Ukrainian ppl is ongoing.

    http://svpressa.ru/war21/article/165389/

    1. Avatar Alex George says:

      The Donetsk morgues are full of Russian soldiers, over 60 at last count. they are being herded into attacks on the Ukrainian positions, and being cut down.

      Yes, Ukrainains are dying, particularly Ukrainian civilians, as the Russian artillery go out of their way to target them. Such as the old lady wounded today by shellfire in Marinka, over 30 kilometres from the fighting. That is typical of the random attacks on Ukrainian civiians.

      1. Avatar туфтуф says:

        Dream baby dream. Wanna a cup of warm milk?

        1. Avatar Eddy Verhaeghe says:

          You will not mind that I flagged this comment, won’t you?

          1. Avatar туфтуф says:

            No.

          2. Avatar Eddy Verhaeghe says:

            But I do mind that you don’t react to certain of my remarks, like the one about the shelling from civilian zones by the DPR.

          3. Avatar туфтуф says:

            Sorry. Thats bad. I mean both my ignoring u and the shelling. But it will soon stop cus Russia cnt afford it. Its busy becoming the worlds biggest energy power.

            https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/01/31/putins-russia-in-biggest-arctic-military-push-since-soviet-fall/21704416/

          4. Avatar туфтуф says:

            I upvoted u.

  3. Avatar туфтуф says:

    The President of DPR is on the first line of the defence against Ukrainian aggression. I wonder which bar in Kiev Waltzmann is getting drunk at.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Bwugu4gqKd8

    1. Avatar Alex George says:

      Really? The film doesn’t show a front line. There’s a few shots of soldiers firing a plamya, and otherwise firing in the distance. And its a publicly available video.

      1. Avatar туфтуф says:

        Yes

    2. Avatar Brent says:

      Congratulations for once again showing how clueless and moronic you are “TOTO”. The DPR doesn’t have a “President”. Zakharchenko is its “Prime Minister”.

      How do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you can’t even get basic facts like that correct? You exhibit typical stooge stooopidity with every post you make…. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/485c1ffe9e4d5913990b033311b91250c5102d1e2ed3946818b67c2ed2624f9b.jpg

      1. Avatar туфтуф says:

        Oh sorry. They call him glava gosudarstva which means head of state. Prime ministers they call premierministri, sorry for bad translation. I should have said head of state. Know 2 many lingos and get cnfsd sometimes.

  4. Avatar Alex George says:

    The videos of Russian MLRS firing from within residential areas of Donetsk are telling. Local residents know they are being used as human shields for the Russian artillery, and you can hear the fear in their voices. Ukrainian artillery is much better than it was in 2014, so they know what the consequences will be.

    The Russians appear to have no regard for the Minsk Accords whatsoever – they are using 152mm and 122mm artillery, MLRS and tanks, which are all banned on the front line. They are also using civilian areas as cover, as well as targeting civilian areas.

  5. Avatar туфтуф says:

    Breaking news: Avdeevka is free. Ukrainian army has withrawn after suffering heavy losses.

    http://warfiles.ru/show-142833-armiya-dnr-prizhala-i-pridavila-vsu-pod-avdeevkoy.html

    1. Avatar Alex George says:

      LOL Better tell the Ukrainian Army. They are still where they were yesterday, just more dead Russians in front of them.

      1. Avatar туфтуф says:

        Fighting over it like mad again. They shld simply call Russia for help, the lot of them.

        1. Avatar Eddy Verhaeghe says:

          OMG, your “Breaking news: Avdeevka is free. Ukrainian army has withrawn after suffering heavy losses.” was not true after all.

        2. Avatar Alex George says:

          Russia is already there. Girkin/Strelkov is complaining that the “separatist” units don’t fight. Over 60 Russian boys in the morgue already, and that was two days ago. GRU units now being fed into the meat grinder. Grec was killed on the first day. Givi wounded.

          1. Avatar туфтуф says:

            If Girkin moans, that bee a very bad sign for zUkraine, nigh deadly. We knew that abt him since the beginning.

        3. Avatar Dale Davies says:

          You admitted a whole railcar load of cesspit scrapings there! Admitting to Poopinstan involvement in this mess. Instigated by Czar Poopin of Mordor to save his lowslung butt and to try to prevent the Russian Revolution 3.0!
          I hope Adolph Zakarchenko falls apart in an elevator while you have your head stuck in his anatomy the sun does not get to shine on!

          1. Avatar туфтуф says:

            2 days ago for the first time in my life l read an open admission that regular Russian troops are on the ground, although l knew it from the very beginning. Hows your muff?

          2. Avatar туфтуф says:

            My admittance of thenfact is irrelevant. But my admittance that a big wars a conin is ever so relevant.

    2. Avatar Eddy Verhaeghe says:

      The article says nothing of the sort.

    3. Avatar Kruton says:

      Go back to killing old women,commie scum!

    4. Avatar Brent says:

      Well look at that. Not only are you a moron, you are also a LIAR.

    5. Avatar Dale Davies says:

      The .ru tells your story right there. More BS Pootlerstan news filtered through the Kriminalin propaganda machine! Not only that but any place the Ukraine Armed Forces are advancing is on land siezed and occupied by Pootlerstan military personnel after the Minsk was signed. That stipulated the demarcation line which the Pootlerstan forces have not honored!
      That DPR pissident is a power hungry thug, not willing to honor agreements or negotiate in faith. The same as Fuhrer Shorty the Shirtless in his ivory tower in Muskovy!

  6. Avatar Murf says:

    Targeting civilians and infrastructure; did anyone think Putin would stop at just doing it to so called terrorists in Syria?
    Does anyone think that this is limit of his barbarism?
    And Trump wants the U.S. aligned with Putin?

  7. Avatar veth says:

    Toeftoef is welcome in the morgues of Donetsk…………..bring the dead Russian soldiers home..hahahaha

    1. Avatar Murf says:

      The Cargo 200 Express is leaving the station!
      Pack em in tight boys!

      1. Avatar Andrew Chmil says:

        Hmm…

        “The Kremlin has said that the escalation of the conflict in Donbas is
        another reason for the “restoration of dialogue and cooperation” between
        Russia and the United States, including in order to “untie the
        Ukrainian knot,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told
        journalists, according to an UNIAN correspondent in Russia…”

        Reason for the sudden escalation… Ruski just wanna solve the problem! :)))

        https://disqus.com/home/discussion/channel-ukrainetodayusa/kremlin_escalation_in_donbas_reason_to_restart_russia_us_cooperation/

  8. Avatar Brent says:

    Alexander “Hug a thug” is an example of the problems with the OSCE and Europe. They criticize Ukraine for defending its sovereign territory yet turn a blind eye to Russia’s invasion. No other European country would be silent if Putin sent Russia sent troops onto their sovereign territory, yet the expect Ukraine to be.