Ukraine Live Day 328: Fighting Explodes At Donetsk Airport As Germany Cancels Peace Summit

January 12, 2015

Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here. An archive of our liveblogs can be found here. For an overview and analysis of this developing story see our latest podcast.

Please help The Interpreter to continue providing this valuable information service by making a donation towards our costs.

View Ukraine: April, 2014 in a larger map
For links to individual updates click on the timestamps.

For the latest summary of evidence surrounding the shooting down of flight MH17 see our separate article: Evidence Review: Who Shot Down MH17?

Fighting Explodes At Donetsk Airport As Germany Cancels Peace Summit

Several major developments regarding Ukraine today. In the first development, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has cancelled a proposed meeting between German, Russian, French and Ukrainian leaders, scheduled to be held of January 15 in Astana, Kazakhstan. RFE/RL reports:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told Russian President Vladimir Putin that a four-way summit on the Ukraine crisis will not be held until progress has been made on the Minsk peace plan.

Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said Merkel told Putin via phone on January 10 that she expects Moscow to use its influence on pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine to reach “consensual solutions.”

She told Putin that a summit of French, German, Russian, and Ukrainian leaders proposed for the Kazakh capital, Astana, cannot be held due to a lack of progress on the situation.

A meeting between the foreign ministers of those countries will still happen tomorrow in Berlin, but this is a sign that the international community is growing tired of Russia’s broken promises regarding Ukraine.

And there are plenty of broken promises. In Donetsk, Russian-backed separatists reportedly launched new attacks. Over 300 miners were temporarily trapped due to shelling. AFP reports:

A Ukrainian military spokesman in Kiev said the insurgents had targeted federal positions 41 times by Sunday evening.

The spokesman stressed that most of the rebel rocket and artillery strikes occurred around the disputed Donetsk airport that a skeleton crew of government forces has been holding on to since the end of May.

One was reported killed in overnight violence but there was no immediate information about other casualties later in the day.

Local officials said the civilians had also been killed in various incidents across the mostly Russian-speaking east of the separatist region overnight.

Rebels officials said one of the shells fired by Kiev’s forces on Sunday afternoon hit a district electricity substation that feeds the city’s vast Zasyadko coal mine.

A reader sends us this video, taken from a live camera feed facing Donetsk International Airport. As you can see, the shells landing on the airport are numerous and intense.

Attacks were reported across the Donbass:

Casualties are rising, patience is growing thin, and it seems that now, more than in recent memory, there is consensus that the ceasefire, which was never much more than an unfulfilled promise, is falling apart.

James Miller