The rebuilding process in the one time rebel stronghold of Slovyansk has gathered pace with reports of a mainly peaceful city.
The main administrative building has been flushed out of weapons and armour. The rebels have fled to Donetsk in what they called a “tactical retreat”. A logistical exercise has replaced the military one.
“I reported back to the President of Ukraine and he has sent three planes with food that are due to arrive soon. They will include – drinking water, food and other necessities. We are cooperating with the emergency ministry which will now take care of the peaceful citizens of Slovyansk,” explained Valery Heletey, Ukrainian Minister of Defence.
The rebels were overcome by greater numbers with one reportedly saying Ukrainian forces outnumbered them by 50 to one.
The retreat has led to recriminations from some against Russian President Vladimir Putin for his apparent lack of support.
Work has started to repair the damaged buildings in and around Slovyansk. But the deep political divisions remain.
Talks aimed at ending the fighting were scheduled for Saturday but to date have not got underway while the rebels are calling for a mass demonstration in Donetsk.