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Donbass, Jan 29, 2017: The Ukrainians are within the line-of-sight distance

Last Sunday, the situation in Donbass got even more tense. Shell attacks and gunfights continued throughout the day and caused serious damage to houses and infrastructures. There are casualties among self-defenders and peaceful civilians. Senior Lieutenant of the Armed Forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Maryushin (with Varyag code name) has told EADaily’s correspondent about the current situation in the republic.

“We have been fighting for already a week. Today, in the morning, we started a battle near the Avdeyevskaya industrial zone. We have an outpost there, the Ukrainians are trying to seize it. They are using all types of weapons, except planes. People in Makeyevka, Yasinovataya and Donets can hear us. The outpost is poorly equipped, so, we are ready to send reinforcements,” Matyushin said.

“11 self-defenders were wounded this morning. One of the oldest commanders of the Vostok battalion Ivan Balakay (with Grek code name) was killed while trying to get to our positions and to rescue those wounded. We have managed to retain the outpost but the shoot-out is still underway,” Matyushin said.

“The Ukrainians have tried to attack Dokuchayevsk but have been thrown back. That settlement is surrounded from three sides. From the side of Novotroitsky, the Ukrainians are very close – in the so-called demilitarized grey zone. They are already within the line-of-sight distance from us,” Matyushin said.

“Horlivka is also being bombarded. There the Ukrainians have occupied Novoluhanskoye and are very close but the local highway is free. They can shell it but they can do this from Svetlodarsk too. So, their reports that we have lost the highway are not true,” Matyushin said.

“The Ukrainians are also very close to the Donetsk filtration plant, which is the key source of water for both sides. If they capture the plant, they will take control of the whole of the Donetsk agglomeration as that plant feeds not only Donetsk but also Horlivka and Makeyevka. Now the Ukrainians can either capture the plant or just destroy it. If they do the latter, they will leave almost two million people without water. As of now, the plant is operating,” Matyushin said.

“Sakhanka, Kominternovo and Shirokino are also being shelled. The same is true for Debaltsevo but in the south the Ukrainians have not advanced too far,” Matyushin said.

“I don’ think that the final battle is near. The enemy is just preparing a springboard for a future offensive. They may try to cut Horlivka from Donetsk by means of a combined attack from the industrial zone and Novoluhanskoye. They may also seize Yasinovataya, which is a big railway hub. They are probing into our defenses and they are also trying to draw the world’s attention,” Matyushin said.

“Despite the war, the Donetsk authorities continue their social activities. They have raised the minimum pension to 2,600 RUR. They have decided not to raise the bills but they are taking measures to make people pay. If you have a debt, they are dividing it into parts for you to be able to pay. Humanitarian aid from Russia is being distributed on a constant basis. In contrast, Rinat Akhmetov is gradually reducing his aid,” Matyushin said.

“Shops are full of products and the prices are moderate. The health care services are improving, the social sector is alive. We are opening more and more sports clubs, organizing sports events and sending our sportsmen to Russia. We continue issuing new DPR passports, which are valid in Russia,” Matyushin said.

According to Deputy Commander of the Army of the Donetsk People’s Republic Eduard Basurin, five houses and a kindergarten have been damaged in Dokuchayevsk and Makeyevka over the last 24 hours. Two houses have been damaged in the villages of Kominternovo and Zaichenko in the south of the republic. A shooting team of NTV TV has been attacked in Makeyevka. One person was wounded.

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