Avdeevka is a town of around 35,000, pre-war population, held by Ukrainian forces, some 5km northwest of the city of Donetsk (city limits), held by DPR.
On the evening of Eurovision, it generated mass attention, with Ukraine’s president Poroshenko loudly then announcing that he was cancelling his visit to the song contest final in Kiev, due to the shelling – which made international news –
The Donetsk People’s Republic responded today:
“It is another provocation ordered by the commander of the Donetsk operations and tactical group with involvement of the 72nd separate mechanized brigade, the Right Sector (a far right group banned in Russia), Ukraine’s National Guard along with foreign media outlets in the run-up to the Minsk talks,” the Donetsk news agency quoted the spokesperson as saying.
The DPR explained how the provocation was staged.
“The 72nd brigade opens fire on the DPR position, whereas the Right Sector is shelling Avdeyevka and foreign media are recording,” he said.
Meanwhile, well-known blogger Colonel Cassad analysed the photos of the shelling, concluding that it had actually come from the Ukraine-held settlement of Vodyane, around 5km from Avdeevka –
Now of course, shelling damage can be analysed in different ways, to suit different needs. So, a wider context must also be assessed. Who did this shelling suit?
The DPR had just enjoyed perhaps one of the most successful, high-profile weeks of their 3-year existence, with both a mass Victory Day celebration, and a huge Republic Day festival. So, to believe it’s the Donetsk People’s Republic, you have to believe that, off the back of this, they’ve decided to shell a civilian area of Avdeevka, full well knowing how much they would be hammered in the media for that.
There have been no recent DPR attempts to capture the town of Adveevka, nor any sign that that’s the case. So why would they, as Ukraine wants us to believe, arbitrarily decide to shell the settlement, with the predictable, and of course tragic, loss of life – 4 deaths reported?
Meanwhile, on the Ukraine side, it’s a different story. Poroshenko can take the moral high ground by not attending Eurovision, due to his loudly-announced ‘grief’. Not attending a Eurovision it was pretty clear something embarrassing was going to happen at, and it duly did, with Ukrainian prankster Vitaliy Sedyuk mounting the stage to bear his bottom.
There’s also the bonus for Ukraine of, in a week when all events in the DPR had passed off successfully, without a hitch, another opportunity to attack the ‘evil separatists’, Putin, and so on.
And, be sure, Ukraine’s PR-machine – which has seen Poroshenko turn up to UN Meetings, World Economic Forums, and more, bearing items of wreckage he claims were the result of ‘separatist, Russian-backed shelling‘, etc – will only just be starting on this.
So, if you ask the question, who gains from the shelling of Avdeevka, there’s only one answer, Ukraine. As to who did it, well, it’s not too much of a leap to come to that conclusion.