Sunday, March 1, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

East Ukraine city dying under siege

By
August 06, 2014 |

DONETSK, Ukraine — Residents say the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk is dying. The power grid was completely down Monday, the city government said, and fuel is running dry.

Store shelves are emptying fast, and those who haven’t managed to flee must drink untreated tap water. With little medicine left, doctors are sending patients home.

As Ukrainian government forces slowly tighten their ring around the city — one of two major pro-Russian rebel strongholds — traveling in and out has become a perilous undertaking.

In an impassioned statement released over the weekend, mayor Sergei Kravchenko described a situation that is becoming more unsustainable by the day.

“As a result of the blockade and ceaseless rocket attacks, the city is on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe,” Kravchenko said. “Citizens are dying on the streets, in their courtyard and in their homes. Every new day brings only death and destruction.”

Luhansk, a city of more than 400,000 people at peacetime, now has seen its population dwindle as citizens flee violence and deprivation. Located about an hour’s drive from Russia, which Ukraine insists is supplying rebels with weapons and manpower, Luhansk is being fiercely fought over by all sides of the conflict.

Shelling is a daily occurrence and the targets apparently quite random. On Saturday, eight buildings were damaged by rockets. These included a school, a supermarket and several multistory apartment blocks, Luhansk city government said.

Last week, a crucial electrical transformer in Luhansk was hit by a shell, leading to an 80 percent drop in power supplies, according to a report issued Monday by an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe monitoring mission.

Rebels accuse the army of waging a vicious bombing campaign against the civilian population. Authorities deny they have used artillery against residential neighborhoods and in turn accuse rebels of shelling civilians as a way of discrediting the army. This claim is faithfully repeated by almost all Ukrainian media, although it has been questioned by Human Rights Watch and others.

With gas reserves all but exhausted, even those willing to brave a drive out of the city for supplies struggle to refill their cars.

A little is getting through all the same, mainly from Russia. Pro-rebel online television station Luhansk-24 on Sunday carried a report about a consignment of medicinal supplies reaching the city from the southern Russian city of Saratov.

This was a visible reminder that supply lines to Russia remain intact. With clashes taking place at several spots surrounding the city, however, maintaining a steady convoy of goods is complicated.

The fight for control over the frontier has been bitter.

Authorities concede that more than 60 miles (100 kilometers) of the Russian-Ukrainian border remains in rebel hands. The government says that Russia has been flagrantly smuggling large amounts of heavy weaponry and manpower to aid the separatist cause.

Sandwiched between the border and rebel fighters, government forces have succumbed to routine defeats and humiliations, even as they appear to slowly gain the upper hand in the fight to regain control of the last rebel strongholds.

On Monday, a Russian border security official said more than 400 Ukrainian soldiers crossed into Russia.

The Russian official said the soldiers deserted the Kiev government and that the Russian side had opened a safe corridor. A Ukrainian military official, who did not give a number for the soldiers involved, said the troops were forced into Russian territory by rebel fire after running out of ammunition.

Border control official Vasily Malayev later said 180 of the soldiers were being returned to Ukraine at their own request.

One of the soldiers, medic Anton Shingera, said he was uncertain how Ukraine would treat them upon their return, but “no matter what, the main thing is that I am alive.” Other soldiers, who declined to give their names, said they had fled because they had run out of ammunition.

Ukraine’s government accuses the separatists of entrapping the civilian population in besieged cities like Luhansk and has pushed for the creation of humanitarian corridors.

Their priority appears to persuade as many people to evacuate cities in advance of attempting full incursions.

“We urge the peaceful population to abandon territory seized by terrorists,” Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the government’s military operation in the east, said Monday.

Those choosing to stay behind and assist people in need are facing a desperate plight.

“Doctors can do nothing but cry. Every day, wounded people come in and we can’t help them. We lack even basic medicines,” said Fyodor Solyanik, a doctor in the Luhansk regional hospital.

Speaking briefly over a crackling landline connection, Solyanik said patients who were due for long-planned operations are being sent home.

“This is a nightmare situation,” he said. “It’s not just medicine we don’t have. We don’t even have food and water.”

With prices for basic staples rising fast, the elderly deprived of their now-suspended pension payments are hit especially hard.

Local authorities are inundated with pleas for help that they are helpless to address. In just one day last week, a recently created crisis center received 1,800 appeals for assistance.

According to official figures, around 100 people have been killed since fighting began in Luhansk. With public services in total disarray, the reliability of such figures is questionable.

While the local government that existed before the current conflict began is attempting to provide basic services, real authority lies with the gunmen leading the separatist government that dubs itself the Luhansk People’s Republic

Yelena Gaida, 46, is one of the many thousands who have managed to get out of Luhansk.

Speaking in Donetsk, another rebel-controlled city 90 miles (150 kilometers) west of Luhansk, Gaida said she is abandoning her three-room apartment and plans to head for Russia

“Almost half the city has fled already,” Gaida said. “Every day they bomb, shoot and kill.”

Gaida was dismissive of the separatist cause.

“Yes, we have our Luhansk People’s Republic. But life there is impossible,” Gaida said. “Who needs it anymore?”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • rlw895August 05, 2014 - 8:31 am

    There is a simple way to end a siege: Surrender. There is little mention of the prospect for that in this article.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

School bands compete in Pageantry on Parade

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Piece and patience: Quilters gear up for show

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1

 
Calling someone a ‘smoker’ is hilarious

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

Conservancy plans next Quail Ridge Reserve walk

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Police seek suspect in armed robbery

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3

 
4-H Presentation Day brings fun, education to Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
What you eat can affect your medications

By Marilyn Ranson | From Page: C4

 
Rollover in Suisun City

By Aaron Rosenblatt | From Page: A5 | Gallery

State schedules ramp closure at freeway project site

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
Vigil doesn’t pan out amid concerns

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A5

Appointments on tap for Board of Supervisors meet

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
Tri-City NAACP honors community members at gala event

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
CAASC 18th Annual Chinese New Year and Scholarship Celebration

By Steve Reczkowski | From Page: A5 | Gallery

NY, SF town house prices through the roof

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

 
Parker Road restaurant does brisk business

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B7

 
Fairfield police log: Feb. 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: Feb. 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Airmen with local ties finish basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

Force draws many from South, middle class

By Tom Philpott | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

Christie to Calif. Republicans: No rush to pick 2016 nominee

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
US missionary abducted in Nigeria is courageous, friends say

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Dress that ‘greatly resembles’ stolen Nyong’o gown found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Weekend storm drops snow, rain, hail in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Churches, synagogues, mosques bear tough New England winter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Mother charged in death of infant found in California swamp

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Hyundai recalls 263,000 cars due to power-steering problem

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Blind dog rescued after being lost for 2 weeks in the cold

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Details about proposed national monuments in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
National monument supporters in California get antsy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Attacks kill 37 people in and north of Iraq’s capital

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
US drone strike in Yemen kills 3 suspected al-Qaida fighters

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Greece will not seek another bailout, prime minister says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Nemtsov a possible ‘sacrificial victim,’ investigators say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoon: March 1, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sound off for March 1, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
I might just vote for a Democrat next time around

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

Aging Fairfield housing agency faltering

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Today in History: March 1, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 1, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

With numbers falling, Houston-area nuns’ future uncertain

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Horoscopes: March 1, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

Kidney Walk participation helped give me a positive outlook on life

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
.

Entertainment

Take a look – Dr. Seuss has a new book

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Publisher launches line of Warhol e-books

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Q&A: Opera star Deborah Voigt writes of turbulent life

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2Comments are off for this post

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Review: ‘The Girl on the Train’ has realistic plot

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2Comments are off for this post

 
.

Sports

Local Report: Vaca’s Aquino wins Masters wrestling title

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Phegley hopes his style will catch on in Oakland

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

A year after meeting Tiger, Indian golfer on the rise

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Jeff Gordon takes a final spin at track that meant so much

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Vikings girls looking for first section title

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Defending champ Federer beats Djokovic to retain Dubai title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Safarova beats Azarenka to win the Qatar Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Environmental activists disrupt meeting by Olympic officials

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hamilton hones Mercedes with fastest time at F1 testing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Thunder’s Russell Westbrook has surgery on cheekbone

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Anthony Mason, rugged forward of 1990s Knicks, dies at 48

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Warriors center Festus Ezeli suspended for a game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Reichelt leads Austrian World Cup downhill sweep

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Players’ union head: future spring games in Cuba possible

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Harrington takes 36-hole lead, then more rain in Florida

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Harvick wins Xfinity race at Atlanta for 3rd year in a row

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Stolen No. 44 NASCAR race car found in suburban Atlanta

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Business

Fruits and vegetables get a star-studded marketing push

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
For many in US, cash saved at gas pump is staying in pockets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Nevada casinos keep $953.7 million in winnings in January

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Historic snows causing headaches for real estate industry

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Boy, 13, builds Braille printer with Legos, starts company

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9Comments are off for this post

 
Recalls this week: hand trucks, ceiling fans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Review: Freedom! These smartwatches leave the phone behind

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Greek prime minister rules out third bailout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

AP Exclusive: Fuel-hauling trains could derail at 10 a year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

John W. Van Wart

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Lester Singer

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Virgil Albert Hanson

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Leah E. Hoffman

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Thomas Browning

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Jacqueline Mendes

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics