Max Avdeev

Published on 18/03/15

© Max Avdeev

In April 2014, after Ukrain­ian troops with­draw from Crimea, there are reports of Rus­sian troops gath­er­ing in bor­der areas near the east­ern regions of Don­etsk and Luhansk, Ukraine’s indus­trial cen­ter.
On May 11th pro-Russian sep­ar­at­ists in Don­etsk and Luhansk declared inde­pend­ence as “people’s repub­lics” based on ref­er­en­dums, which were not recog­nised by offi­cial Kiev or the West.
A cease­fire was agreed in Minsk, Belarus on Septem­ber 5th between Ukraine and the pro-Russian rebels. It was viol­ated just four days later when fierce com­bat has erup­ted around Don­etsk air­port.
In Janu­ary of 2015, fight­ing between the army and the rebels intens­i­fies around Don­etsk and Luhansk region. Both sides seemed to be bat­tling for new ground, to strengthen their nego­ti­at­ing pos­i­tions in a view of any “peace sum­mit”.
The most bru­tal fight­ing is near the town of Debalt­seve, where the rebels was try­ing to sur­round Ukrain­ian troops. The town is a cru­cial rail­road hub in the East Ukraine, link­ing Don­etsk and Luhansk.
As clashes con­tin­ued there is a new dip­lo­matic solu­tion to cease fire. Mean­while, a armistice allows civil­ians to leave Debalt­seve.
On Feb­ru­ary 12th — after mara­thon talks in the Belarus, Minsk, an agree­ment was reached to end the fight­ing. The lead­ers of Rus­sia, Ukraine, Ger­many and France announced that a cease­fire will start on Feb­ru­ary 15th. The deal also included weapon with­draw­als and pris­oner exchanges, but key issues remain to be settled.
The pro-Russian rebels in east­ern Ukraine also signed the agree­ment. It meant to include a buf­fer zone for heavy weapon­ary, with a min­imum of 50 km (30 miles) between rival forces’ artil­lery.
Des­pite the cease­fire, heavy clashes con­tin­ues around Debalt­seve, with rebels aim­ing to cap­ture the stra­tegic­ally import­ant road hub, to join up their ter­rit­ory held in Don­etsk and Luhansk.

Max Avdeev embeds with the rebel fight­ers known as the First Slavy­ansk Bri­gade in Logvinov to cap­ture the hor­rific sights of the conflict.

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