Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

Donetsk blog, April 11: Cemetery Shelled on Religious Holiday - Civilian Casualties - DPR's Second Anniversary

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Ukraine’s civil war is still very much ongoing.  Both sides are exchanging fire. Civilians and soldiers continue to die on both sides.

DONi was recently founded by a Finnish journalist and Russian businessman whom we know, and we have every reason to believe that their reporting can be relied on as truthful.  More information about the agency follows below this report.

Due to its slow, simmering nature, events in Novorossiya rarely make headlines, so people forget there is a real war going on.

Donetsk, Monday, April 11, 16.30 pm. Exclusive to Russia Insider

(Attn readers: this is frequent feature - if you would like to have clarification of facts mentioned here, additional information, more explanation of why certain events are happening, please ask us in the comments section, or email the author at:   [email protected]   This will help us provide you with information you want to have.)

On Friday, April 8, it was Annunciation. On that day the OSCE mission documented the heaviest bombardment since last autumn. At the very beginning of the war, the residents of Donbass noticed that on Orthodox holidays, as well as before meetings of the Contact group to settle the conflict, the intensity of shelling by the Ukrainian side rose sharply.

At night the Ukrainian military shelled a cemetery in Makeevka, a satellite town of Donetsk, from what was reported to be a 152mm self-propelled artillery system (see below a picture).

Over the past week, according to the DPR Defense Ministry, the territory of the Republic received about 3,000 bombardments from the Ukrainian side, more than a half of which came from heavy weapons.

Over the past three days, two women were wounded as a result of shelling, including a 74-year-old, three DPR soldiers were killed, and three homes were destroyed in a western suburb of Donetsk. Over the past week, 10 civilians were wounded and about 40 civilian buildings destroyed.

The DPR army states that in order to protect the life and homes of civilians, they returned fire, mostly to suppress Ukrainian firing positions, using weapons no heavier than 82mm and 120mm mortars. The relatively small caliber of weapons is something even the Ukrainian military press center acknowledged.

The tensest situation exists to the south and north of Donetsk, as well as in in the area of Gorlovka in the north of the DPR, the second-largest city of the Republic. To the north of Donetsk, in the locality of Avdeevka, the contact line lies in the so-called industrial zone. The built-up nature of this zone does not allow either party to push the enemy out of their respective positions. The Ukrainian side has already labelled their soldiers there “indusborgs”, a reference to the "cyborgs" from Donetsk airport held by the Ukrainian side in high esteem, seemingly forgetting the sad fate of the latter.

A short break in the fighting for Avdeevka occurred on Friday when the locality was visited by the Defense Minister of Ukraine, Stepan Poltorak, and the Secretary of the Security Council, Oleksandr Turchynov. During their visit, the Ukrainian side completely stopped shelling, which provided the representatives of Kiev an opportunity to show the OSCE observers accompanying them their commitment to the Minsk Agreements. After the departure of the Kiev Inspection, Ukrainian shelling resumed immediately.

The OSCE Mission continues to stubbornly ignore both massive attacks on the Ukrainian side and their devastating effects. Last week the observers of the mission did not include in their report the widespread destruction inflicted in the northern outskirts of Donetsk and Gorlovka. Yesterday, having come under mortar fire from the Ukrainian positions in the north of Gorlovka, the OSCE representatives reported only a significant increase in the number of attacks in the area on both sides. They also added that compliance with the Minsk Agreements is the responsibility of the parties and the OSCE can act only as a facilitator of dialogue. At the same time, Kiev's categorical rejection of any dialogue with Donbas is not followed by any assessment on their part.

Alexander Hug, the deputy head of the OSCE mission in Ukraine, gave the same answer to local residents when they asked what the purpose of the mission’s work is in Donbass. He told them that it is the military who should cease fire and that local residents have every right to ask them to do so. Thus, the DPR citizens should force their defenders to surrender while in Kiev-controlled territory several local residents, according to witnesses, were shot dead on the spot for making such a request.

With the same seeming indifference, the OSCE observers document Ukrainian heavy weapons withdrawn from the storage sites, including 122mm and 152mm self-propelled artillery systems, tanks, anti-tank cannons, 122mm "Grad" and 220mm “Uragan” MLRS. That may be the reason why they try not to mention in their reports the devastating effects of attacks on the territory of the DPR; otherwise they will have to recognize that these attacks are carried using the weapons which, according to the Minsk Agreements, should not be located near the contact line at all.

DPR intelligence also continues to report of the amassing of Ukrainian weapons along the front line and the arrival of new groups of snipers from Poland and Serbia, as well as a special unit of the Armed Forces of Ukraine under the guidance of NATO instructors.

A party intending to resolve the conflict peacefully does not strengthen its groups along the contact line while making the opposite statements at the international level and domestically. Ukrainian President Poroshenko constantly states his continued commitment to the Minsk Agreements. Zhebrivsky, the head of the Ukraine-controlled Donetsk region, appointed to the post by Kiev, said on Friday (during the day of especially heavy bombardment) that he was not only ready but also "willing to be at war with Russia to return the People's Republic of Donetsk to Ukrainian control.”

And yet DPR citizens made their choice two years ago and have since defended it under daily bombardments. On April 9, they commemorated the second anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic (see photo below). On this holiday, about 30 thousand people gathered in the capital alone, in spite of the threat of another Ukrainian attack.


Image icon bfp1mivywwk.jpg
The crater on a cemetery in Makeevka
Image icon 09-04_001.jpg
Donetsk celebrates the DPR second anniversary


Information on weapons mentioned in this article

Image icon 2s3-akatsiya-sajjiouau-03.jpg
A 152mm motorised artillery system “Akatsia”
Image icon maxresdefault.jpg
A mortar is a tube-like cannon which fires a projectile which explodes upon impact. They have ranges of up to 3 miles
Image icon 3dabd2b705eed6fd729b5f5f546623881423204606.jpg
An 100mm anti-tank cannon “Rapira”
Image icon 1424187184_6.jpg
A MLRS “Grad”
Image icon uragan_6_0.jpg
A MLRS “Uragan”

The Donetsk International News Agency is a private, non-profit information agency located in the center of the city of Donetsk. It is headed by Finnish journalist, Janus Putkonen and has 10 full time journalists on staff. Approximately half of them are natives of Western European countries. Its website is:


Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Anyone is free to republish, copy, and redistribute the text in this content (but not the images or videos) in any medium or format, with the right to remix, transform, and build upon it, even commercially, as long as they provide a backlink and credit to Russia Insider. It is not necessary to notify Russia Insider. Licensed Creative Commons

Our commenting rules: You can say pretty much anything except the F word. If you are abusive, obscene, or a paid troll, we will ban you. Full statement from the Editor, Charles Bausman.