The Russian-backed offensive by the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) against the Ukrainian military has now entered its third week, and has claimed the lives of at least 341 soldiers and civilians in the region since the start of the year.
While the strategically important town of Debaltseve remains the focus of the DNR’s assault, heavy and unrelenting clashes are still taking place in the village of Pisky, located just a few miles west of Donetsk airport.
The village lies in ruins after months of constant shelling, which has forced almost all of the civilians to flee. VICE News traveled to Pisky to meet the soldiers and volunteers defending the village from daily DNR attacks.
Since mid-January, fighting between the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed rebels in Eastern Ukraine has escalated. Dozens of civilians have died due to the heavy shelling.
The rebels of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) have been attacking Ukrainian Army positions in an effort to reach the city of Sloviansk. In this dispatch, VICE News travels to the Ukrainian Army’s front lines in the village of Kodema to see how soldiers there, clad in German and British gear that has been donated to them, are preparing for the much talked-about DNR offensive.
We also visit the Ukrainian-controlled mining town of Dzerzhynsk to see firsthand what effects the fighting between the two sides has had on the local population.
Watch “Trapped by Artillery Fire: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 88)” – http://bit.ly/1zoiCuY