Conflict in the Donbas escalates, Avdiivka on the verge of humanitarian catastrophe
The situation along the contact line in eastern Ukraine remains tense. According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, 8 Ukrainian servicemen were killed and 26 were wounded on January 29-30.
The situation is the most difficult near Avdiivka (a town 6 km away from Donetsk). Seven out of eight Ukrainian servicemen were killed there while three civilians were critically injured.
The spokesman of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, Alexander Motuzyanik, reported that during the hostilities near Avdiivka Industrial zone, on January 29, the Ukrainian forces captured three separatist soldiers. Two of them were critically injured and died shortly after. The third captive was handed over to the Ukrainian Security Services (SBU).
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense reports considerable losses on the side of the separatists.
According to Anatoly Petrenko, a Ukrainian representative to the JSCCM (Joint Coordination Center for Ceasefire Monitoring), the separatists refused to stop the shelling. Petrenko stated that large-caliber artillery, tanks and mortars were used near Avdiivka.
“As of 9:15 pm, January 30, JSCCM has made 44 attempts to establish a ceasefire. Unfortunately, the ceasefire is not observed by the separatists units, “ Petrenko added.
Journalists of channel 112 Ukraine report that the residents of Avdiivka had to move to the basements because the residential areas continue to be hit by shells and mortars.
On January 30, the Governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Zhebrivskyi, stated that the situation in Avdiivka is critical; there is only one functional power line remaining to supply the power to the town.
The residential areas which are close to the industrial zone don’t have any power at the moment. In the evening of January 30, the power supply to the filtration station was cut off.
Avdiivka coke plant lost power in the evening. “The plant lost the power supply. We are beginning the plant conservation work,” the General Manager of the plant, Musa Mahomedov, wrote on his Facebook page.
The temperatures in Donetsk region is expected to drop to -20 Celsius overnight. Without power supply the heating system in Avdiivka will stop functioning and the whole area will remain without heat.
According to the head of Avdiivka City Administration, Pavlo Malihin, the local officials are trying to provide the power to the heating system using the emergency generators.
Due to the aggravated situation in Avdiivka, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has cancelled his planned trip to Germany, as reported by the President’s Press Secretary, Svyatoslav Tsegolko
The Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration, Kostiantyn Yelisieiev, stated that the President of Ukraine asked to call an emergency meeting of the trilateral group to discuss the situation in the Donbas.