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Avdiyivka struggles to recover from surge in fighting

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A road sign reading "Straight ahead: Pisky - 14 km, Donetsk - 18 km. To the left: Avdiyivka - 9 km, Yasynuvata - 23 km" riddled with bullet holes, stands near the turn to the road to Avdiyivka on Feb. 5.
Photo by Volodymyr Petrov

The front line city of Avdiyivka in Donetsk Oblast hit the international headlines last week after there was a surge in fighting in Russia’s long-running war on Ukraine.

The fighting, which included attacks with heavy artillery on residential areas of the city, left many without power, heating and water supplies.

Avdiyivka is home to a large coking plant that provides coke to Ukraine’s steel industry and employment to many in the city. It also provides heating, using the heat from its furnaces, to sections of the city. Heat supplies had to be cut after the plant experienced fuel shortages, which in turn caused it to cut back on production.

Much of the city was also left without power after shelling damaged power lines near the city. Attempts to repair the lines were thwarted earlier in the week when Russian-backed forces, violating a locally agreed cease-fire, opened fire with artillery on repair crews trying to fix the downed lines.

Another cease-fire that came into effect on Feb. 5 appears to be holding, with repair crews able to restore power to around 80 percent of the city, city officials said.

The fighting coincided with a plunge in temperatures in eastern Ukraine, with temperatures outside falling as low as -18 degrees Celsius, and temperatures indoors dropping to 12 degrees Celsius.

To ease the situation, the Ukrainian government provided heating tents, food and water supplies to Avdiyivka residents, and humanitarian aid packages are now being distributed.

Kyiv Post reporter Will Ponomarkeno and photographer Volodymyr Petrov are in Avdiyivka now to record how the city is recovering from the latest surge of attacks by Russian-backed forces.

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