Travel Alert – Ukraine Donetsk Airport…

Drum Cussac has issued this latest warning for people living or traveling in the Ukraine.  This information is available to GeoBlue plan members from the GeoBlue website daily…

Rebels Continue Offensive in East with Fighting Reported near Donetsk Airport

Category: Conflict

Severity: 4 (High)

Source: Drum Cussac

10/02/2014 (Ukraine) – Media reports on Thursday, 2 October indicate that rebels forces in the east are continuing an offensive to take control of the government-held airport in Donetsk (DOK). On Wednesday, 1 October four people were killed by a shell that landed on a school in Donetsk, and another six died when a minibus was hit. Ukrainian forces also claim to have repelled four attacks on the airport on Wednesday evening, killing at least seven rebels. As of Thursday morning, rebels have resumed attacks with small-arms fire. Rebel-leader Alexander Zakharchenko has reportedly stated that the Donetsk airport is “90%” under separatist control, while Ukrainian authorities insist it remains under government control.

DOK was retaken by the Ukrainian forces in May and is currently non-operational. The recent fighting is in violation of a ceasefire and follows the adoption of a nine-point peace plan agreed by both sides on 20 September that reportedly saw the withdrawal of both forces from the frontlines. Kiev blames smaller rebel units that refuse to recognise the truce for the recent gunfights, whilst separatist militants accuse Ukrainian soldiers of violating the terms of the peace deal signed in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, earlier on 5 September. In addition to the recent fighting in Donetsk, violations including gun and mortar attacks have been reported in the cities of Luhansk and Mariupol. Further such attacks are likely to take place in the short- to medium-term.

The failure of the peace deal to deter further fighting has raised concerns over more casualties in eastern Ukraine. More than 3,500 people have died and at least 615,000 have fled their residences since Kiev launched a major operation against rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk regions in April 2014. Billions worth of key infrastructure have also been destroyed. Given the prevailing security situation in Donetsk, as well as in the Luhansk region and the port city of Mariupol, clients should reconsider all non-essential travel to eastern and southeastern Ukraine. Areas along the border with Russia in particular should be strictly avoided.

Copyright © 2014 Drum Cussac

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