The new war: how long will the aggravation of the situation near Donetsk

What happened

The situation in the Donbass deteriorated sharply on January 29 — the day fighting broke out between forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk people’s Republic (DPR) and the Ukrainian army near the town of Avdeevka. The settlement, which has already been in the epicenter of the fighting in 2014, is 6 km North of Donetsk, and controlled by the Ukrainian side.

Both sides accuse each other of escalation of the situation in the area of Avdeevka. In Kiev claim that the assault action in the area of Avdeyevka industrial zone began fighters of DNR, the purpose of which was the capture of positions of Armed forces of Ukraine (AFU). DNR defense Ministry, in turn, claims that the Ukrainian side first started shelling the territory controlled by the DNI, only the first half of the day on 29 January with nearly 900 mines and shells.

“Avdiivka on the verge of death”

Avdeevka, where at the beginning of the armed conflict in Donbas, there were more than 34 thousand people, is one-industry town and is completely dependent on Avdeevsky coke-chemical plant (AKHZ), part of Metinvest holding company of Ukrainian businessman Rinat Akhmetov.

As the press service of “Metinvest” on the official page in Facebook, as a result of military clashes, “the city remained without electricity. In the evening 30.01 all energovod at our plant is killed. The plant is de-energized. Already canned two workshops out of four. The city, depending on the plant in terms of heat and water, on the brink of disaster”.

As explained in the company’s management, Avdiivka coke continues to support the heat of the Avdeevka coke-oven gas, but his “too little”. If it is not restored the supply of natural gas, coke oven gas will last “until the end of the day,” says the source. If you stop the plant, to start up the factory again would be impossible, the company will cease to exist, he continues, stressing that it would mean in fact “the death of the Town”.

The Position Of Kiev

The city declared a state of emergency, writes “Ukrainian truth” with reference to the head of the police Donetsk oblast Vyacheslav Abroskin. If the city remains without heat, the local authorities are ready to evacuate its residents, primarily children. According to the head of the Donetsk military-civil administration Pavlo Zhebrivskyi, the plant is currently approximately 16 thousand people, the city of Donetsk region are ready to take up to 9 thousand people.

The headquarters of the antiterrorist operation (ATO) reported that “intensive fire from small arms and mortars” from the DNR began on 29 January at about 5:00 local time and two hours later, stormed positions of the Ukrainian side, which was repulsed. In Kiev believe that the target of the attack was the ousting of Ukrainian units from their positions and charges Kiev in violation of the progress of the Minsk agreements.

Fighting in the city lasted three days. On the morning of 31 January, the headquarters of ATO stated that the area of Avdeevka were fired from jet systems of volley fire “Grad”, prohibited by the accords. According to “the Ukrainian truth”, during the day there were 71 violations of the cease-fire, and the positions of the Ukrainian forces from Donetsk was released 1284 ammunition. According to the Minsk-2, “Grad” should be reserved for 70 km from the demarcation line.

DNR representatives asked Kiev about the ceasefire, and then do the same and it broke again going on the offensive, said in his Facebook zhebrivskyi. According to the Ukrainian side shells falling in the town near residential homes and hospitals, and one of the ammo came in a five-story building.

In the fighting killed at least six Ukrainian troops, reports “Mirror of week”, there is information about possible casualties among the civilian population. At the same time, according to the main intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of defense of Ukraine, during the attack Avdeevka killed 15 Russian soldiers and another 24 were wounded.

This is the most serious fighting in Avdeevka 2014, acknowledges a source close to the command headquarters of the ATO. Despite attempts to achieve from the NPT regime of artillery silence, “the attacks only become more intense”. In the administration Poroshenko, the situation in the town was described as “very tense”, said on air “5 channels” the Deputy head of the presidential administration of Ukraine Konstantin Eliseev.

“The attacks do not stop”

In DND in the shelling of the Ukrainian military accused. The Deputy commander of the operational command of the self-proclaimed DND Eduard Bacurin reported that “the Town is quiet”. “We have stated that we will not open fire in response, if the Ukrainian army would stop shooting in our direction,” he said.

Earlier, Basurin stated that the Ukrainian law enforcers per night fired more than 1.9 thousand mines and shells on the territory of the DNI, in addition, they used BMP and small arms. According to him, the shelling from the Ukrainian side suffered 14 settlements DND and the outskirts of Donetsk. According to Baturina, in the night of 31 January was recorded at least four hits in a multistory residential building on the outskirts of Donetsk, damaged the railway track near the railway station of Donetsk, and the breakage of power lines were left without electricity in the district of North Donetsk.

The third day of fighting at Avdeevka confirms the DNR volunteer Alexander Zhuchkovsky. According to him, the storming of the Town is not, and in fact are the positional battles, “although the army of the DPR at the moment a clear advantage”.

“On the outskirts of Avdeyevka APU is very powerful fortified, and in so “hurriedly” his punch is unrealistic — it takes time and additional forces, which are not yet transferred, — said the militiaman. Despite theoretical agreement in Minsk, the militia have a serious need to take control of Avdeevka. Out of residential areas, are under heavy fire from Ukrainian artillery, including reactive. Tonight out of the Donetsk and Makeyevka was released at least 10 packages of “Grad”. To respond to these attacks difficult — we had to shoot at the residential area of Avdeevka and Sands, where is the APU fire. It is logical to take these settlements under control, although it was necessary to do this two years ago.”

Poroshenko collects security officials and diplomats

After the intensification of the fighting in Avdeevka Petro Poroshenko was forced to cancel the visit to Germany, where he discussed with Chancellor Angela Merkel that is the situation in the Donbass. As the Deputy head of the administration Eliseev, Kiev intends to initiate a meeting of the trilateral contact group “in any mode, even in a videoconference mode”.

Also, the President assembles the military Cabinet of the Council of nucleobases and defense of Ukraine, informed the Agency “Interfax-Ukraine” citing a source in the entourage of the Ukrainian President.

As previously reported , the Kremlin is “extremely concerned” about the new round of fighting on the frontline in Eastern Ukraine, said press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov. According to Peskov, Moscow has reliable information according to which “separatist groups” (unrelated to the armed forces of Ukraine) with the support of the Ukrainian artillery tried to attack a territory that is controlled by the self-proclaimed DND and LNR. “The militia of Donbass had to fight back in the vicinity of the Town, had to recapture occupied territory,” — said the press Secretary of the head of state, expressing regret about the deaths of people on both sides of the conflict.

According to Ukrainian political analyst Konstantin Bondarenko, the reason of the next aggravation on the front to do with the fact that “both sides have forces that are not under the control of official Kiev and the leaders are not controlled by DNR”. The expert said that in such a situation “of mutual provocations are inevitable, yet both sides will fully implement the Minsk agreements”.

Bondarenko predicts that the aggravation will be long, most likely, in the near future really will meet the contact group in Minsk and there will be another attempt to negotiate. “Fighting is not beneficial to either one or the other side. But the real solution can only be in case of introduction of third-party peacekeeping contingent. However, entering the “blue helmets” of the UN requires a decision of the security Council, and it may take at least six months. But the OSCE has no armed peacekeeping mission”, — says the expert.

The political consequences of the fighting in Avdeevka — a sharp decline in trust of the parties to each other, can slow down the settlement process, said close to the Kremlin, Director of the Center for political conjuncture Alexei Chesnakov. The expert rejects the possibility of rejection of the Minsk agreements, because their revision constitute a waiver of resolving the situation.