UAF and DPR losses
Over the course of its recent offensive actions, Ukraine has used the time-proven method of dramatically understating losses. However, this time the losses are understated by dozens of times. For example, during the first, most fierce firefights between January 29th and 31st, the UAF reported 2-4 killed. At the time, the DPR’s artillery was holding off both the UAF’s forward positions and the second line of Ukrainian reserves.
Humanitarian Situation: Statistics and Personal Testimony
On the very first day of shelling, civilians were killed. Ukrainian artillery bombardments have also inflicted serious damage on residential buildings (numerous houses have been destroyed) and the social infrastructure of cities. Ukrainian shells’ impact has led to the ruin, full or partial, of numerous DPR infrastructure ensuring the supply of water, electricity, and heat to cities.
In order for the foreign reader to grasp the situation, allow me to explain that Donbass was the most urbanized region of the former USSR. Ninety percent of the population lived in cities and to this day the population of Donbass remains concentrated in urban areas distinguished by close proximity between cities. For example, Donetsk, with a pre-war population of 1 million, blends in with the town of Makeevka with a population of 350,00 people. The distance between the cities is more or less a single kilometer. Therefore, the municipal authorities of cities have to endure increased work loads to ensure the smooth operation of urban infrastructure. It should be noted that Donetsk has beautifully coped with this work, as the city remains amazingly clean even in the midst of Ukrainian shelling. Emergency teams arrive immediately at the scenes of incidents and clean up the damage. Pipelines supplying gas to households and Donbass’ industrial enterprises, however, have consistently been faced with countless problems.
To illustrate this situation, let us turn to a personal story to show the situation in Donbass through an ordinary citizen’s eyes. My friend Vladimir, a veteran of the founding of the DPR and a man around the age of 55, lives in Donetsk. Artillery bombardments of the city have led to the partial interruption of professional and public life. But despite the shelling, the bulk of the city’s inhabitants still wait at public transport stops for their bus, even while under fire, and even when classes in the city’s schools are cancelled. Vladimir’s friends work at a gas supply station and deal with the repairing of pipelines. One of them found himself under artillery fire and was wounded while doing repair work. Ukrainian artillery fire did not cease for several days and nights in a row. When I talked with Vladimir on Skype several days ago, I could hear the impact of Grad rockets as volley fire rocket launchers constantly interrupted our conversation. The next time we talked on Skype, I heard the explosion of a Tochku-U tactical missile. An hour later, it was reported that the DPR military had managed to bring down the rocket out of the air. Here are my personal photos depicting unexploded Tochka-U missiles near Makeevka in October 2014.
When the intensity of attacks subsequently declined, the residents of Donetsk and Makeevka somewhat calmed down. But they still spent several nights without sleep as the Ukrainian army started shelling repetitively at 5:00 in the morning. The Special Monitoring Mission of the OSCE has since confirmed the death of several civilians from shelling in Avdeevka and Donetsk: “The Special Monitoring Mission confirms the death of several civilians and quite a large number of injured civilians in Avdeevka and Donetsk as a result of shelling,” the OSCE’s recent report reads.
Originally published on greanvillepost.com/