February 2, 2017 -
By Eduard Popov for Fort Russ - translated by J. Arnoldski -
I just finished having a long conversation with my friends in Donetsk. I also managed to Skype with residents of Avdeevka who just today managed to leave the city. In summary, I’ve received information on the situation in Avdeevka (a satellite city of Donetsk under the control of Ukrainian armed forces since the beginning of the conflict) and other cities of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
My friends in Avdeevka have personally observed Ukrainian tanks concentrated between residential buildings despite the fact that tanks are prohibited from being present in residential areas according to the Minsk Agreements. Thus, Ukraine is deeply violating the terms of the truce, and this time there is incriminating documentary evidence. In one photo, right next to the UAF tanks is an OSCE car and observer (sic!). Now not only Ukraine will come under fiery criticism, but also this international organization which has repeatedly been accused of being blind to the movement of Ukrainian military vehicles close to the demarcation line.
My friends in Avdeevka also spoke of the humanitarian situation in the city. Except for the industrial zones, the city has actually not been completely destroyed. Schools, kindergartens, and hospitals have remained unscathed. Yet Ukrainian television shows the town in ruins. Apparently, such footage was taken from another location, perhaps from a town in the DPR. Today a Ukrainian television channel was even convicted of fraud: a Ukrainian official from Mariupol was portrayed as a resident of Avdeevka begging UAF soldiers to not leave the city in a propaganda stunt. The supposedly widespread ruins in Avdeevka are probably also a result of falsification. According to my friends in the DPR, the republic’s troops have deliberately fired only at the Ukrainians’ frontline positions. Avdeevka itself is not being subjected by the DPR to fire - after all, many of the DPR soldiers are residents of the city. Shooting at the city would mean shooting at their families, friends, and neighbors.
Another startling fact relayed to me by acquaintances in Avdeevka is that a 9-storey apartment building in which their relatives live was subjected to heavy shelling this morning. Fortunately, the family managed to escape the apartment literally 30 minutes before the artillery bombardment, thus avoiding certain death. The artillery fire was recorded as coming from…UAF positions.
Now Poroshenko’s “cunning plan” is becoming clear upon his return from Germany under the pretext of “saving Avdeevka” from distress. Regardless of whether there will be a further UAF offensive or not, the Ukrainian authorities have launched a massive information attack against the DPR and Russia. The target of this propaganda campaign is Ukrainian audiences and Western readers. They are being fed stories of mass destruction and “humanitarian catastrophe” in Avdeevka that is blamed on Donbass forces. The neighboring Donbass cities in the DPR, however, have reported no such real catastrophe.
In doing so, Ukraine is preparing the ground for a continued offensive on the DPR and LPR and is concentrating military equipment and manpower. It is still unclear whether this offensive operation will be continued or if Ukraine will suspend it due to enormous losses and pressure from the international community. We plan to discuss this in more detail in our next sitrep.
To be continued…
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