Along with journalists Patrick Lancaster, Max Clarke (read Max’s article on Vice about the day here), Valentin Trushnin, Pavel, we headed along on January 18th to Donetsk airport territory. A rumour was going around of Ukrainian troops somewhere on the large territory, which also includes megastore Metro, and a large car showroom just several hundred metres from the new terminal itself.
The story of Donetsk airport terminals old and new is one now oft-told, but every building, every part of the territory has its own story. After Ukrainian forces launched an air attack on the DPR controlled Donetsk airport, on May 26th, then stormed the site, DPR forces were pushed back and withdrew.
The next few days saw the airport site fall into chaos, as it was unclear where the territorial lines would be drawn. The raiding of Metro and the adjoining upmarket car showroom were something the Ukrainian press revelled in, with numerous articles on ‘DPR’ looters etc. So lawless were things at that time, 5 bodies were reported found in the Metro. Yet the facts are it was inevitable Metro would have been emptied, either by DPR or by Ukrainian forces, who had expanded their reach on the airport territory to include Metro, the car showroom and up to Putilovsky bridge, crossing into the city limits of Donetsk, by early June.
We were the first journalists to go to Metro and the car showroom for months, here’s how they were.
Car Showroom –