NSDC: Ukrainian army continues to hold the Donetsk airport


Kyiv, September 2, 2014 – “Ukrainian army continues to hold the Donetsk airport. After an organized retreat from the Luhansk airport, our combat engineers blew up the runway, thus making it unusable”, reported NSDC Information Center spokesman Colonel Andriy Lysenko during a press briefing at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center. Situation in the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) area remains difficult. Russian troops together with the terrorists are waging impudent attacks on the positions of our army. After demonstrating their presence, Russian military units leave populated areas and concentrate in forests and ravines. Russians do it to avoid open conflicts with local population and prevent leakage of information about their presence in Ukraine.

On the night of 1/2 September, near the town of Komsomolske, Donetsk region, militants opened fire at Ukrainian army positions. This was followed by an offensive during which two vehicles carrying militants attacked the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. A grenade launcher operator of the National Guard of Ukraine demonstrated courage and, after quickly assessing the situation, fired two accurate shots and destroyed the vehicles, thereby preventing the enemy from breaking through to the territory now controlled by the Ukrainian army. For his heroism and skillful actions under difficult battle conditions, the serviceman was recommended for a decoration.

Troops of the “Pivnich” (“North”) Operational Command carried out a successful operation to release 9 Ukrainian troops who had been held captive by the terrorists for a period from several days to two months. Among those released are servicemen of various ranks, ranging from lieutenant colonel to private. The released prisoners will soon be sent home for physical and psychological rehabilitation. The group includes representatives of military units based in the Lviv, Khmelnytskyi, Chernihiv and Mykolayiv regions.

President Petro Poroshenko signed the Law of Ukraine “On Amendment of the Laws of Ukraine “On Military Duty and Military Service” and “On the Principles of Combating Corruption.” This law will facilitate the transition of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to contract-based staffing, and will also simplify the procedure and reduce the time required for military conscription in case of a crisis posing a threat to Ukraine’s security.

Terrorists continue to shell populated areas. Militants are using rocket artillery to shell the suburbs of Luhansk –the towns of Yuvileyne, Katerynivka, Vesela Hora in the Slovyanoserbskyi district and Petrivka in the Stanychno-Luhanskyi district. The latter two are shelled from the territory of the Russian Federation at the same time. In Alchevsk, Luhansk region, militants used heavy artillery to shell the Lenin Avenue. The exact number of victims is yet to be determined.

Civilians are forbidden to leave the populated areas controlled by the militants. The citizens of Horlivka, Donetsk region, for the most part refrain from moving around the city in fear of the armed terrorists patrolling the streets and guarding the checkpoints.

Citizens of Ukraine should be aware that Russians take advantage of the difficult situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to try to grant a refugee status to as many Ukrainians as possible and then relocate them to the depressed regions of Siberia. At the Ukraine-Russia border checkpoints that are not controlled by Ukraine, instead of a migration card Ukrainians are issued a document which binds them to apply for a refugee status. After that they are relocated to Russia’s depressed regions.

A decrease in the activity and number of terrorists is observed in the towns occupied by the Russian armed forces, which is probably due to the discord between the militants’ management and Russian military command regarding their conduct at the controlled areas.

Militants continue to destroy the infrastructure of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. A road bridge was blown up near the Starolaspa village in the Telmanove district of the Donetsk region. Thirty-two boxes probably containing explosive material ready for detonation were found in the Striltsivksa village, Luhansk region, planted under the piers of a bridge across the Kamyshna river, on the R-07 highway connecting Milove and Bilovodsk. Combat engineers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces are now working at the site.

According to the Mayor of Mariupol, Yuriy Kholtubey, today in Mariupol work is underway to complete the reinforcement of checkpoints at the entrance to the city. Locals, public activists and representatives of industrial companies in Mariupol are taking active part in this work. Industrial companies provide locally manufactured Czech hedgehogs and steel slabs to place Ukrainian army positions around the city.

All checkpoints that surround Mariupol are being reinforced this way. The second line of defense will soon be constructed 15 – 20 km away from the city.

All citizens willing to help defend Mariupol should contact the city’s territorial defense headquarters at: (062) 933 33 13.

On 2 September 2014, the President of Ukraine had a meeting with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland. Mr. President emphasized that there is substantial evidence of civilians and prisoners of war being tortured by militants. Petro Poroshenko also urged Mr. Jagland to help Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko.

Mr. President stressed the importance of “coordinating actions” with the Council of Europe to resolve the difficult situation Ukraine is facing. In particular, Mr. President called upon the Council of Europe to participate in providing humanitarian aid to the occupied territories and displaced persons.

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe referred to the events in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea as “tragedy” and expressed full solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

The Prime Minister of Australia, Mr. Tony Abbott, said: “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is an act of war. The conflict in Ukraine involves a large number of regular troops from both sides, artillery, tanks and air forces. Yes, this is a war.”