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Ukraine Front Lines: No Ceasefire, Mi...
Tonen'ke, Ukraine
By Andrey Samerkhanov
30 Mar 2015

Footage and interviews from Ukraine front lines.

Despite a ceasefire brokered in Minsk between Russia and Ukraine and the pulling back of heavy artillery on both sides, warfare doesn't stop in eastern Ukraine. Russian proxies and regular army continue shelling at Ukrainian forces' positions on daily basis. In the meantime, UA president Poroshenko announced UA volunteer battalions withdrawal from the front lines in eastern Ukraine. Soldiers of the regular UA army fear this decision will turn to many death among UA soldiers that remain to serve there: "The enemy is strong and UA must ensure even stronger defense instead of withdrawal". The following three stories aim to highlight:
1) Who is really supports UA army;
2) What challenges UA soldiers face on the front lines;
3) Why UA soldiers think UA president Poroshenko's decision on "withdrawal" from the front lines is wrong

We have heard and read a lot about volunteers providing food, medical supplies, and other essentials for the Ukrainian soldiers at the front. At the same time the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and government officials have claimed that the government is doing its job in supplying the soldiers with everything they need. EMPR has decided to see for ourselves how things stand in regard to how well the soldiers in the battle zone in eastern Ukraine are being taken care of. In our search for the truth and to bring our readers a firsthand account our correspondent spent two days with a volunteer group in the Donetsk oblast. We want to share with our readers the remarkable, unique system the volunteers have worked out to provide aid to the patriots of Ukraine who with their strength of spirit, desire for justice and often with their own lives are defending our land from the Russian invaders.
Meet the charitable organization "Mother's Watch" in Kyiv. Here volunteers collect aid for the Ukrainian soldiers. Here protective camouflage nets are made, bread and cakes and meat pies are baked, stuffed dumplings and meat balls are cooked, and soup and borshch ingredients are dehydrated. This is where our journey accompanying the volunteers from the "Association of Ukrainian Veterans of Afghanistan" begins. The group of veterans delivers the goods to the soldiers at the front.
We leave Kyiv at night and by morning we arrive in Donetsk oblast. Our first stop is a small village where 11 divisions of a mechanized infantry battalion are based. Here we leave half of the goods. The battalion has been here for three months already. They are tired. And waiting for their rotation to end. Next we're off to the see the "Right Sector."

Story #1
Music is in the air as volunteers from the organization "Mother's Watch" weave camouflage nets for the soldiers and sing their hearts out. Soon the vans arrive. Food, water, and other essentials are loaded into the vans. By the next morning the vans are at the front. They are unloaded and the goods are distributed among the soldiers. The soldiers tell us that if the volunteers did not bring them the supplies they need the army would not be able to keep going for more than two weeks.

Story #2
The soldiers of the Ukrainian Army share with the volunteers all the ceasefire violations the opponent has committed, the problems within the army, and their thoughts on how and by whom Ukraine could be helped in the war against Russian aggression.

Story #3
In February, 2015, Andrei Hrachev, a combat doctor with the 93 Battalion together with other soldiers addressed an appeal to the President of Ukraine in which they called on the president to bring order to the country, to get rid of corruption, and to fulfill the pre-election promises. The appeal was full of obscene language but it hit record highs in popularity. Andrei Hrachev became an Internet star. In March, 2015 Petro Poroshenko issued an order that the volunteer battalions Right Sector and OUN must either become a part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine or leave the battle zone. Here is Andrei Hrachev's response to the President's order.

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Americans Fight Alongside pro-Russian...
Donetsk, Ukraine
By KatArgo
22 Feb 2015

Two Americans from texas have been fighting for the pro-Russian rebels at the Donetsk Airport, where some of the worst fighting in eastern Ukraine have occurred. 

"Texas" is a communist, who came to Donetsk from Texas to help the Donbass militia fight off the Kiev government. He is a veteran of the US Army, where he was a combat engineer and now serves as an explosive expert with the Sud Vremini (Essence of Time) Battalion. "Jackhammer" was born in Moscow, but grew up in Texas. He has no military background, but once had contracts with the police force before coming to Donetsk. He subscribes to no political party or ideology, and says he would leave Donbass if the Kiev-backed military stopped fighting in the civilian centers. He wants a peaceful resolution between the Novorussiya government, and the Kiev government, and says that even if Novorussiya does not separate, and chooses to remain a part of Ukraine, he will leave Donbass.

Grad rockets can be heard in the background of the interviews.

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Americans Fight Alongside pro-Russian...
Donetsk, Ukraine
By KatArgo
22 Feb 2015

"Texas" is a communist, who came to Donetsk from Texas to help the Donbass militia fight off the Kiev government. He is a veteran of the US Army, where he was a combat engineer and now serves as an explosive expert with the Sud Vremini (Essence of Time) Battalion.

Grad rockets can be heard in the background of the interview.

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Americans Fight Alongside pro-Russian...
Donetsk, Ukraine
By KatArgo
21 Feb 2015

"Jackhammer" was born in Moscow, but grew up in Texas. He has no military background, but once had contracts with the police force before coming to Donetsk. He subscribes to no political party or ideology, and says he would leave Donbass if the Kiev-backed military stopped fighting in the civilian centers. He wants a peaceful resolution between the Novorussiya government, and the Kiev government, and says that even if Novorussiya does not separate, and chooses to remain a part of Ukraine, he will leave Donbass.

Grad rockets can be heard in the background of the interview.

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Kramatorsk Shelling 01
Kramatorsk, Ukraine
By Maria Zaviialova
10 Feb 2015

Kramatorsk, the city of Ukraine, Donetsk region administration office and ATO zone headquarter location have been shelled 10/02/15. The car hit in the residential area.

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Kramatorsk Shelling 02
Kramatorsk, Ukraine
By Maria Zaviialova
10 Feb 2015

Kramatorsk, the city of Ukraine, Donetsk region administration office and ATO zone headquarter location have been shelled 10/02/15. The car hit in the residential area.

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Kramatorsk Shelling 03
Kramatorsk, Ukraine
By Maria Zaviialova
10 Feb 2015

Kramatorsk, the city of Ukraine, Donetsk region administration office and ATO zone headquarter location have been shelled 10/02/15. The car hit in the residential area.

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Kramatorsk Shelling 04
Kramatorsk, Ukraine
By Maria Zaviialova
10 Feb 2015

Kramatorsk, the city of Ukraine, Donetsk region administration office and ATO zone headquarter location have been shelled 10/02/15. The car hit in the residential area.

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Kramatorsk Shelling 05
Kramatorsk, Ukraine
By Maria Zaviialova
10 Feb 2015

Kramatorsk, the city of Ukraine, Donetsk region administration office and ATO zone headquarter location have been shelled 10/02/15. The car hit in the residential area.

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Kramatorsk Shelling 06
Kramatorsk, Ukraine
By Maria Zaviialova
10 Feb 2015

Kramatorsk, the city of Ukraine, Donetsk region administration office and ATO zone headquarter location have been shelled 10/02/15. The car hit in the residential area.

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Kramatorsk Shelling 07
Kramatorsk, Ukraine
By Maria Zaviialova
10 Feb 2015

Kramatorsk, the city of Ukraine, Donetsk region administration office and ATO zone headquarter location have been shelled 10/02/15. The car hit in the residential area.

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Kramatorsk Shelling 08
Kramatorsk, Ukraine
By Maria Zaviialova
10 Feb 2015

Kramatorsk, the city of Ukraine, Donetsk region administration office and ATO zone headquarter location have been shelled 10/02/15. The car hit in the residential area.

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Kramatorsk Shelling 09
Kramatorsk, Ukraine
By Maria Zaviialova
10 Feb 2015

Shell that fell in residential area and killed at least one person

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Kramatorsk Shelling 10
Kramatorsk, Ukraine
By Maria Zaviialova
10 Feb 2015

Shell that fell in residential area and killed at least one person

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Kramatorsk Shelling 11
Kramatorsk, Ukraine
By Maria Zaviialova
10 Feb 2015

Shell that fell in residential area and killed at least one person

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Kramatorsk Shelling 12
Kramatorsk, Ukraine
By Maria Zaviialova
10 Feb 2015

Although kill radius of that shell is about 1 km (according to the deputy head of Donetsk region police) people gathered to look at it.

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Ukraine Refugees 21
Donetsk, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
08 Feb 2015

Actors walk the hallways of the Donetsk Opera during their
performance.

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Ukraine Refugees 22
Donetsk, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
08 Feb 2015

Actors perform at the Donetsk Opera, as fighting continues on the outskirts of the city.

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Ukraine Fighting Displaces Thousands
Debaltsevo, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
07 Feb 2015

Heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine has killed civilians on both sides, while an attempt to reopen peace talks has stalled. The past week has seen by far the worst fighting in Ukraine since the ceasefire was signed five months ago, exacerbating the refugee situation in the country. This comes as rebel forces announced an offensive that Kiev says amounts to a full repudiation of the truce. 

Fighting in the towns of Uglegorsk and Debaltsevo left tens of Ukrainian soldiers and rebel soldiers dead, while civilians from the area fled to a suburb just thirty kilometers from the frontline in Svetlogorsk. Meanwhile in Donetsk, recently the scene of fierce clashes between Ukrainian forces and rebel units, some residents attend a show at the Donetsk Opera while others stay in the safety of makeshift bomb shelters.

So far, fighting in East Ukraine has left 921,640 internally displaced, including 136,216 children, according to a UN report from January 21. Over 600,000 have left the country, 400,000 of whom have fled to Russia.

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Ukraine Refugees 12
Uglegorsk, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
07 Feb 2015

Rebel soldiers prepare to take up their positions outside Uglegorsk.

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Ukraine Refugees 13
Uglegorsk, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
07 Feb 2015

Rebels receive orders from their commander at a check point in Uglegorsk.

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Ukraine Refugees 14
Uglegorsk, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
07 Feb 2015

A rebel soldier covers his face from the cold at the checkpoint in Uglegorsk, recently taken by rebels.

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Ukraine Refugees 16
Uglegorsk, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
07 Feb 2015

Locals walk the streets of Uglegorsk, recently taken by rebels in their push for territory in Ukraine's Donbass region.

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Ukraine Refugees 01
Uglegorsk, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
07 Feb 2015

Destroyed tanks and armored vehicles line the main road in Uglegorsk.

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Ukraine Refugees 03
Uglegorsk, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
07 Feb 2015

Elderly women walk by a destroyed house in Uglegorsk, a small city that was taken by rebels in their push to gain territory in Ukraine's Donbass region.

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Ukraine Refugees 11
Uglegorsk, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
07 Feb 2015

A local man talks with rebel technicians as they try to fix a destroyed Ukrainian armored personnel carrier in Uglegorsk.

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Ukraine Refugees 19
Donetsk, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
06 Feb 2015

A woman in Donetsk reviews the damage to her house after weeks of fighting rocked the city.

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Ukraine Refugees 08
Uglegorsk, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
06 Feb 2015

People stay in a bomb shelter in Donetsk that was designed during the Cold War. Some local residents have lived in bomb shelters for more than a month, looking for cover from artillery strikes.

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Ukraine Refugees 09
Donetsk, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
06 Feb 2015

People stay in a bomb shelter in Donetsk that was designed during the Cold War. Some local residents have lived in bomb shelters for more than a month, looking for cover from artillery strikes.

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Ukraine Refugees 10
Donetsk, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
06 Feb 2015

People stay in a bomb shelter in Donetsk that was designed during the Cold War. Some local residents have lived in bomb shelters for more than a month, looking for cover from artillery strikes.

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Ukraine Refugees 23
Donetsk, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
05 Feb 2015

A man fixes windows in his apartment that were shattered by a nearby explosion.

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Ukraine Refugees 24
Donetsk, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
05 Feb 2015

Windows at a school for hairdressers in Donetsk are blocked with mattresses.

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Ukraine Refugees 06
Svetlogorsk, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
03 Feb 2015

Refugees from Debaltsevo wait to depart in the bus that will take them to a shelter in Svetlogorsk.

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Ukraine Refugees 07
Svetlogorsk, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
03 Feb 2015

Refugees from Debaltsevo arrive at the sanatorium in Svyatogorsk that has been made into a shelter, some 30km from the frontline in Svetlogorsk.

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Ukraine Refugees 15
Debaltsevo, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
01 Feb 2015

A man walks along the deserted road outside Debaltsevo, the scene of fierce fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia rebels.

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Ukraine Refugees 17
Debaltsevo, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
01 Feb 2015

Ukrainian soldiers patrol the streets in Debaltsevo.

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Ukraine Refugees 18
Debaltsevo, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
01 Feb 2015

Locals from Debaltsevo wait to board a truck to leave town. They have been without power, water and gas for at least ten days.

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Ukraine Refugees 20
Debaltsevo, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
01 Feb 2015

People from Chernukhino, now situated on the frontline of the conflict, wait to be evacuated by bus.

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Ukraine Refugees 02
Debaltsevo, Ukraine
By Sergey Ponomarev
01 Feb 2015

People from Chernukhino, now situated on front lines of the ongoing conflict, wait for an evacuation shuttle.