Ukrainian military were increasingly moving into positions around Slavyansk, from mid-late April. From May 2nd, 2014, they pressed, taking up positions right outside the city –
There were several casualties, at least one fatality among local people who turned out to protest their presence on the night of May 2nd, 3rd –
The scandal over civilian fatality, plus strength of that protest, hundreds of Slavyansk locals out to picket, heckle the Ukrainian military for being there, forced a retreat as the Ukrainians withdrew the next day from positions right at the city circumference –
But it was to be temporary. On May 5th, Ukrainian forces made their most aggressive move yet on the city, which had been under the control of anti-Kiev forces since April 12th. They hit perimeter points, notably Andrievka and Semenovka, with a minimum of 8 civilians killed, 16 wounded making it the sharpest escalation yet in the Donbass conflict, and just days after the tragedy of Odessa, May 2nd.
Here are the videos looking back on that day – this, Andrievka, at the city limits, in the aftermath of the Ukrainian attack –
A house by Semenovka, riddled with bullet holes –
Across the road, vans shot up –
Gunfire still going on –
A destroyed truck, by the Slavyansk city sign, by Semenovka –
Pools of blood on the ground – and emotional scenes from locals –
A destroyed petrol station, as Ukrainian military vehicles had roared through, on an incursion into the city which had been unexpected, quick, and brutal, as they mowed everything in sight in a hail of bullets –
This local man spoke about how it had been –
While locals at the scene did what they could to clear the smashed-up settlement, which had been an innocuous interchange pre-conflict, petrol station, few kiosks, homes –
There were fatalities on both the Donetsk People’s Republic militia side, and Ukrainian, and a minimum of 8 civilians killed, with funerals held in the city 2 days later –
The victims included a 30 year old nurse, Irina Boevets, who had stepped out to her balcony for a cigarette, reportedly shot by a Ukrainian sniper.
That was May 5th in Slavyansk, the day which marked the sharpest escalation yet in events in Donbass, and 2 days later in Mariupol, it got even worse.