Ukraine Live Day 334: Reports That Russian Forces Have Surrounded ‘Cyborgs’ At Donetsk Airport

January 17, 2015
Screenshot from drone footage of Donetsk Airport. Video here:

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Report From OUN Commander On Latest Fighting At Donetsk Airport

Oliver Carroll has been doing impressive reporting from Donetsk, but the story he is reporting is grim. According to a Ukrainian military commander, some wounded have been evacuated, but others have not and it’s unclear how many of Ukraine’s ‘Cyborgs’ have been killed today:
Carroll notes in a later tweet that Humenyuk is the vice commander of OUN, not the commander:

The details Carroll has been reporting, mainly coming from his contacts in the OUN battalion, have corresponded to reports coming from the Ukrainian military. However, Carroll’s reports are far less optimistic, and we believe far more accurate.

While significant uncertainty remains, we believe that some of the wounded have been evacuated from the airport, others remain, the battle is stable for now, but Ukraine’s Cyborgs remain in a desperate, worsening, and highly untenable position. All of the reports are consistent in indicating that the Ukrainian military has been unable to supply significant relief to the airport, and there is no deal with the Russian-backed fighters which would see a pause in the fighting.

It is our understanding, based on evidence we’ve been collecting all week, that Ukraine may need to launch a significant military operation to change this dynamic.

James Miller

Latest Statement From Ukraine Military: Wounded Being Evacuated

According to a statement from the Ukrainian Military’s ATO office, releases just minutes ago, says that the situation at Donetsk International Airport is stable. The position was attacked 43 times between 6 A.M and 6 P.M., but the Cyborgs have effectively blocked the enemy attack long enough to begin the evacuation of the wounded. 

According to the ATO, the situation at the airport “did not change significantly today.”

There is no indication as of now as to whether or not a larger mission to evacuate the airport will be undertaken.  

James Miller

Cyborgs Not Able To Evacuate Donetsk Airport

At 1600 Kiev time, nearly three hours ago, UA Today translated a report from LIGA indicating that the Cyborgs were still in control of the 2nd floor of the new terminal and the situation was somewhat improved.

Ukrainian media LIGA writes that Ukrainian soldiers keep their positions on the second floor of the new terminal of Donetsk Airport. The main battles take places outside the terminal. The situation has calmed down but Ukrainian soldiers are not able to rotate forces and evacuate wounded at the moment.

James Miller

Cyborgs Trying To Evacuate Among Heavy Combat In Donetsk
Several journalists covering this story give us a clue as to the severity of today’s fighting in Donetsk.
The Ukrainian Military reports that it is trying to withdraw its forces from the airport:
Which contradicts somewhat the message coming from some of the Cyborgs themselves:
James Miller
At Least 3 Cyborgs Killed and 18 Wounded In The Last 24 Hours

The Ukrainian military is reporting that in the last 24 hours 3 Ukrainian soldiers, the ‘Cyborgs’ defending the airport, have been killed in fierce fighting. Reuters reports:

“In the past 24 hours three Ukrainian service personnel have been killed and 18 wounded. Yesterday evening we succeeded in evacuating the wounded from the airport,” military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said.

Separatists were concentrating their fire on Saturday on the airport’s new terminal and its weather station.

“Our forces are repelling the attacks of the terrorists. The fighting is heavy. Firing is going on all the time. The situation remains under control but the adversary is not letting up in its attacks to seize this strategic target,” Lysenko said.

That number may be out of date, based on reports below.

James Miller

More On Situation In New Terminal
Reports That Russian Forces Have Surrounded ‘Cyborgs’ At Donetsk Airport

Last night, despite a third day of intense artillery bombardment and repeated assaults, and contrary to Russian media claims, Ukrainian forces managed to stay put in the new terminal at Donetsk Airport.

At 2:45 GMT (4:45 Kiev time), Tatiana Rychkova, a volunteer and activist, reported on her Facebook page that the situation at the airport was “stable” and that it was under Ukrainian control. 

There is no shelling currently audible on the Ruptly live stream from Donetsk

However there has been worrying news this morning from freelance journalist Oliver Carroll, who spoke by phone to one of the defenders of the airport, popularly known as ‘cyborgs,’ around an hour and a half ago:

— Pierre Vaux