Ukrainian journalist: The situation in Avdiivka is becoming more tense
In his interview to the Ukrainian Hromadske Radio, Journalist Roman Bochkala, who spent a significant amount of time with the Ukrainian armed forces near Avdiivka, described the situation on the front line.
He noted that the situation in Avdiivka is becoming more tense. "They [the separatists] are doing everything they can to take the territory back. They are absolutely reckless at sending their soldiers at our positions and this leads to numerous losses on their side. Hundreds of them have been killed during this short period. They are trying to surround the area. Although there is no danger of encirclement at the moment." he noted
Bochkala said that the area has a symbolic significance for the separatist. "This is the point from where they started taking control of Donetsk 2 years ago. This is here that Zakharchenko [the head of the so-called Donetsk Republic] declared that they will never surrender this piece of land [Yasynuvata junction]. And now the Ukrainian soldiers are right beside, and this junction is within their firing range. And there is also a question of morale among the residents of the separatist republics. Everything there [in the separatist republic] is built on fear. And if people who live there start seeing that they [the separatists] are weak, they will lose credibility among the population. That is why they cannot withdraw from there and completely lose control over the territory" the journalist stated.
He said that there is no strategic value in holding the territory; the value is mostly symbolic. In this sense it is similar to the fight for the Donetsk Airport*.
The journalist said that OSCE stopped visiting the area. According to him OSCE monitors said that it's just too dangerous. “So it's been a while since we have seen them there [ at Avdiivka industrial zone]. So the Ukrainian soldiers try to record all the ceasefire violations themselves. But this is probably of no use" Bochkala stated.
*The Donetsk Airport is where the heaviest fighting took place last year between Ukrainian forces and the pro-Russian separatists