Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 04.02.2018
Another Ukrainian village has been freed of foreign invader-occupiers from Muscovy. Katerynivka in Luhansk region was liberated by the Ukrainian armed forces. Yuriy Mysyagin, a volunteer supporter of Ukraine’s resistance to Russian aggression, said: “The village of Katerynivka in Luhansk region is ours! The Armed Forces of Ukraine did everything in a calm and quiet way some time ago.”
News of the liberation of Katerynivka was revealed on February 2, only two days after news of the liberation of Novooleksandrivka. The two villages are 7 kilometres away from each other, in a straight line – 11 kilometres by road through the safety of the city of Popasna in free Ukraine. Both Katerynivka and Novooleksandrivka have been shelled and shot at for three and a half years by the Russian occupation army in Luhansk region.
The villagers of Katerynivka have had no access to gas or electricity for quite some time. A road connects Katerynivka to Popasna and to Zolote, which are both in free Ukraine. There is no road connecting Katerynivka to Russian-occupied Ukraine.
The Ukrainian army has begun helping the people of Katerynivka to return to as normal a life as can be managed right on the battlefront of Russia’s invasion of Europe. On February 2, the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs announced that humanitarian assistance and protection managed to reach the village of Novooleksandrivka for the first time since the fighting of 2014. Securely behind the new defensive positions of the Ukrainian armed forces, the villagers of Novooleksandrivka at last have some help to cope with winter.
A short distance east of Katerynivka is what should be the Zolote “safe corridor” crossing for vehicle traffic to pass from Russian-occupied Luhansk region (nominally the so-called “LPR”) and free Luhansk region, Ukraine. The Ukrainians have been ready for months, but the Russians are stalling. Captive-of-Russia Luhansk residents can only cross by foot at Stanytsia Luhanska. The Russians – through their “LPR” proxies – give no reason for their violation of the agreement to open the Zolote crossing. Now that the Ukrainian armed forces have established defensive positions better suited to protecting Ukrainian civilians in Katerynivka and Novooleksandrivka, the security of the environs of the Zolote crossing is better established. The Russians have even less reason for stalling.
The Ukrainian armed forces can do little about the incessant Russian shelling until Ukraine commences the full liberation of Donbas and Crimea. But the army can undertake the vital work of de-mining in Katerynivka and Novoleksandrivka. Injuries will be prevented and lives may be saved. Aid is arriving. The villages are back in the Ukrainian family.