Gunfire and armed militias make for mounting tension in Donetsk

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Gunfire and armed militias make for mounting tension in Donetsk

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A convoy of armed militia has been filmed moving through residential streets of Donetsk.

The amateur video is an insight into the mounting tension in the east Ukrainian city after the recent bloody battle for the airport.

Rebel fighters have pulled back after having lost at least 50 of their number. But they continue to strengthen their barricades with sandbags or tyres on the road to the airport near where many of them were killed by government fire on Monday.

The clashes have not just been in Donetsk. There was a standoff in Luhansk when national guard members left their military unit building after heavily armed pro Russian militia launched an attack.

The fighting has caused panic among local residents, many of whom rush home when they hear gun shots.

Donetsk resident Angelica Mostovaya described what life is like in the city: “Of course I am afraid. My parents called me and said they were in the basement because they had started flying jets, started shooting. We don’t know who is shooting, where they are shooting. Nobody tells us anything.”

Vasily says he is like many in the city. He has had enough of the violence and the fear. “Don’t you think I’m concerned when the jets fly past my balcony? Of course I have concerns,” he said.

“It is time to end this and start talks and agree on something peaceful and stop the shooting from both sides. I think it’s possible to achieve that and I don’t understand why it has not been done before.”

However, Ukraine’s President-elect Petro Poroshenko has vowed to restore government control in the east and, if the armed separatists do not lay down their weapons, he has warned there will be no talks.