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Situation report for February 9: Debaltseve entrapment is closing

Situation report for February 9: Debaltseve entrapment is closing
Photo: ATO press centre

Today, former Commander of the Donbas battalion, MP Semen Semenchenko (Samopomіch) reported on his Facebook page that the enemy has blocked the Debaltseve — Artemivsk road near the village of Lohvynove.

«Our forces keep on fighting on the highways in the area of Lohvynove. The enemy was able to move up its reserves. There were armor hardware losses on both sides. Ukrainian artillery conducts attacks. Separatists in Lohvynove clamped the highway. The AFU and the anti-sabotage group Donbas withdrew to their original positions,» he wrote.

In turn, the website of the Ministry of Information of the DPR has already announced its occupation of Lohvynove and operational entrapment of the ATO forces in Debaltseve.

Representatives of the Press Center of the ATO deny the information about the Debaltseve entrapment. Anatoliy Stelmakh, speaker of the ATO command staff, said in a conversation with Capital that there have been fierce fights near Lohvynove today, but the village was not occupied by the enemy.

«The settlement is located in the area affected by the artillery pieces of the ATO, so there is no enemy there. Moreover, we have kept all our grounds today,» he said.

A soldier who goes by nom-de-guerre Roman, currently deployed in Debaltseve, told Capital that after today’s reinforcement the militants increased pressure on the positions of the ATO in Debaltseve and Chernukhino. «There is heavy fighting; it is the second day of nonstop shelling. During the day there were enemy tanks on the highway from Artemivsk, the situation near Lohvynove is complicated,» he said.

The ATO positions in Luhansk direction were shelled as well. Soldier of the Aidar battalion Andriy Lebid, currently deployed near the village of Shchastya in Luhansk oblast, said in conversation with Capital that the enemy forces were constantly firing in the direction of Tryokhizbenka, Krymske and Stanytsya Luhanska.

«We could hear continuous gunfire for more than 24 hours; artillery was piling shells nonstop. Airborne intelligence, as much as it was possible, showed movement of motor convoys in direction of Debaltseve,» he said.

In Mariupol direction the situation remains relatively calm. Officer of the press group in the M sector of the ATO zone Dmytro Chaliy told Capital that two settlements were shelled during the day: Chermalyk, where the enemy used light weapons, and Mykolaivka, where the militants used Grad multiple rocket launchers. There were no casualties.

The situation in the humanitarian sphere is complicated. Head of the volunteer group Kryla Shchedrosti ta Turboty (Wings of Generosity and Care) Maya Mykhailyuk, who helps refugees in Svyatohirsk, told Capital that the number of refugees from the war zone was higher than last summer. «There is more bombing and it is the cold season,» she says explaining the reasons for the influx. Hundreds of people come from Debaltseve and Avdiyivka, but only dozens leave Maryinka so far. Mykhailyuk says the attacks in that direction are ceasing, so from time to time people leave cellars and return to their apartments.

Military draft began in the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics today. As it was previously mentioned by the DPR officials, the draft is voluntary. At the same time, the head of the LPR Igor Plotnisky mentioned some money allowance for those who wish to join the military. For example, privates were offered more than UAH 5,000, officers — more than UAH 7,000.

«We need fresh forces to turn the tide in our favor in the Debaltseve area, where we have surrounded significant forces of the military and the National Guard,» said Plotnitsky. At the same time, Capital’s source in Luhansk said on condition of anonymity that the local population was trying to dodge the draft.

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