DPR takes control over Donetsk airport after Kiev troops withdrawal — DPR defense ministry
TASS, Friday, Jan 16, 2015 (see other reports below, including by the New York Times)
DONETSK – All Ukrainian troops have withdrawn from the territory of the Donetsk international airport, the Donetsk News Agency said on Friday, citing the defense ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). “There are no Ukrainian servicemen at the new terminal of the airport. They have abandoned their positions and have withdrawn seeing no point in further resistance,” the ministry said.
The DPR defense ministry said on Friday morning the DPR militias had established control over the airport.
Also on Friday, DPR’s head, Alexander Zakharchenko, promised to hand over the Ukrainian flag the Kiev troops had left at the airport to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. “Those people who have been killed at the airport because of you have the right to take the flag and remember that it was you who had send them there to die. Let this flag be passed over to the mothers whose sons were killed at the airport,” Zakharchenko said in an address to the Ukrainian president. (See video of Zakharchenko’s promise):
Zakharchenko also stressed the DPR was ready to maintain friendly relations with the Kiev authorities if the latter said they wanted it too. “We are peaceful people, we want no warfare,” he noted.
On Wednesday, January 14, Denis Pushilin, DPR’s representative in the Contact Group for peace settlement in Ukraine, said the DPR self-defense forces had opened up a corridor to the Ukrainian military’s withdrawal from the Donetsk airport. Pushilin stressed that this was a “good will gesture” on the part of the DPR.
The Defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed republic said on Thursday Ukraine’s troops were abandoning their positions near the airport.
The Sergei Prokoviev International Airport, now-destroyed, was an architrectural jewel rebuilt for the 2012 Euro soccer tournament.
* * *
Ukrainian troops had 24 hours to withdraw from Donetsk airport — DPR official
DONETSK – Ukrainian troops were given a possibility to safely withdraw from the Donetsk airport within 24 hours, Valentin Matuzenko, a military adviser to the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) told TASS on Friday. “We opened up a corridor for the Ukrainian military and some have taken advantage of that. Only the most staunch idea-driven are staying. We have no exact information on how many of them are there,” he said.
Matuzenko said that combat operation unleashed at the Donetsk airport after provocation by the Ukrainian side. “A mine from their territory hit a DPR munitions depot. Servicemen were killed. This incident triggered the operation,” he noted.
On Wednesday, January 14, Denis Pushilin, DPR’s representative in the Contact Group for peace settlement in Ukraine, said the DPR self-defense forces had opened up a corridor for the Ukrainian military’s withdrawal from the Donetsk airport. Pushilin stressed that this was done to avoid casualties. “It was not an operation to squeeze out the Ukrainian troops from the airport, it was a “good will gesture” on the part of the DPR,” he said. “We are doing our best to save the lives of the Ukrainian military, for we want no casualties even on their part.”
On Friday, the Donetsk News Agency said, citing the DPR defense ministry, that all Ukrainian troops had withdrawn from the territory of the Donetsk international airport. “There are no Ukrainian servicemen at the new terminal of the airport. They have abandoned their positions and have withdrawn seeing no point in further resistance,” the ministry said.
* Donetsk republic says Kiev used chemical munitions in attack on airport, TASS, Jan 16, 2015
* Russian-backed rebels [sic] claim to have control of strategic Donetsk airport, New York Times, Jan 16, 2015
* See video of the wrecked Donetsk airport, by Graham Phillips, here.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We remind our readers that publication of articles on our site does not mean that we agree with what is written. Our policy is to publish anything which we consider of interest, so as to assist our readers in forming their opinions. Sometimes we even publish articles with which we totally disagree, since we believe it is important for our readers to be informed on as wide a spectrum of views as possible.