Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Thousands of Ukrainian soldiers trapped as Debaltseve pocket closes

You are about to read a personal account written by Oksana Grytsenko staff reporter of the Kyiv Post reporting from the front lines just outside Debaltseve, the site of the fiercest fighting in the eastern Ukraine. Her report is riveting and once again shows us all the courage of the frontline reporter.

ARTEMIVSK, Ukraine – Her eyes red with tears, military doctor Alla Neshchadym leans over the map that shows Ukrainian positions in the area around Debaltseve, the site of the fiercest fighting in the east.

Only two cars managed to get out of the encirclement yesterday. The guys say it was just a miracle," she tells the Kyiv Post as she sits in the office of medical department of National Guard in Artemivsk on Feb. 16. “None came out today."

She is especially worried about one soldier in particular, her son Albert Sardasian, who serves in the same medical unit but is currently stationed in Debaltseve. He transferred there on Feb. 5 for his 12-hour long shift, but has been trapped ever since.

The cease-fire that came into effect on Feb. 15 brought relief to some Ukrainian troops in the eastern provinces, but not those stationed around Debaltseve, a city of 25,000 people and an important railway junction bordering Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts.

Ukraine's defense ministry said on Tuesday separatists had seized part of the strategic town of Debaltseve from government troops and that street fighting was taking place between the two sides despite the ceasefire deal.

The main road that connects Debaltseve and Artemivsk, the nearest city fully under Ukrainian control, is mined and shelled by enemy tanks and missile systems. Ironically, it's referred to by troops as “the road of life." Soldiers now have to use a side road through the fields, which is no less dangerous.

Speaking to the Kyiv Post by phone, Sardasian said he witnesses many deaths and injuries each day. He said the cease-fire, which was the main point of the Minsk agreement between leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany on Feb. 12, only lasted about 40 minutes.

It became quiet abruptly at midnight on Feb. 15 and we even started hoping for truce," he said. “But it wasn't yet 1 a.m. when the shelling resumed."

You can read Oksana Grytsenk full story by using the following link:  Thousands of Ukrainian soldiers trapped as Debaltseve pocket closes
Freelance Journalist and Author

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Ukraine more death in Donetsk as hospital is shelled at least five dead

Latest breaking news coming out of the Ukraine as reported by Stefan Huijboom a freelance Dutch journalist, leaves us in no doubt just how bad the situation in the Ukraine has become. Our thanks to both Stefan and our friends at the Kyiv Post for bringing us this update.

DONETSK, Ukraine – A series of shells struck separatist-controlled Donetsk on Feb. 4, killing at least five people and wounding dozens of others. Agence France-Presse said at least 12 people were killed in various neighborhoods of Donetsk. At least two shells landed near hospital no. 27, killing three people in a district that borders Ukrainian-held territory.

Both sides blame each other for the deaths. Separatists have taken positions in residential areas, putting civilians at risk in the war.

"We try the best we can. But this violence needs to stop!" screams a middle-aged woman in military camouflage clothes. She works in the medical emergency team of hospital no. 24, where some of the patients were transported.

"Am I a terrorist?!" she asks. "Why is (President Petro) Poroshenko doing this? We are ordinary people. I work for nothing. I don’t get paid. And what do I do? I save people’s lives while Poroshenko tries to kill them."

 In front of the ruined hospital no. 27, people gathered for yet another tragedy.

To read Stefan Huijboom's full report, from the front line, please follow the link below


Once again my many thanks to both Stefan and my friends at the Kyiv Post for making sure we are kept up to date with the tragedy happening in the Ukraine today.

Freelance Journalist and Author
Credits and Sources: The Kyiv Post, and Stefan Huijboom

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Ukraine 21 killed in Mariupol rocket attack many injured

In what has been described by David Stern of the BBC” as a very significant escalation" in the Ukrainian crisis, 21people have been killed and at least 46 injured as Grad rockets rained down on the Ukrainian government’s port held city of Mariupol hitting a residential market. The bombardment reportedly fired by pro-Russian rebels, an act the rebels immediately denied calling it "blatant misinformation,” comes after the pro-Russian rebel leader in eastern Ukraine, Alexander Zakharchenko admitted that his troops were now on the offensive and had no requirement for a ceasefire.
Alexander Zakharchenko

This latest attack on the highly strategic city of Mariupol, apparently carried out by the pro-Russian rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko’s troops has signaled the movement of hostilities into an area just east of Crimea, a notably rebel-held area which sits between the recently Russian annexed Crimea and the rebel forces.

So far since last April alone, over 5100 people have been killed in what has now turned into all out War, a war which could plunge Europe, if not the world into all out chaos. Our hearts and thoughts have to be with the innocents of all sides who have been left to bear the brunt of mans incredible love of war. The horrifying stats below make grim reading

Troops on the streets Mariupol

Some 5.2 million people live in conflict-affected areas and 1.4 million are considered "highly vulnerable and in need of assistance" 

More than a million people have fled their homes with 633,523 living as displaced persons within Ukraine and 593,622 living outside Ukraine, mostly in Russia 

More than 5,000 people have been killed in the fighting and more than 10,300 injured
Source: UN report of 9 January for refugee figures; news reports for casualty estimates 

Freelance Journalist and Author
Credits and sources: BBC.UK, David Stern, United Nations report of the 9th January and my friends at Wikipedia for some of the pictures.