Apparently, Moscow brought fresh forces to separatist-held city, Ukrainian soldiers say
The Russian-backed separatist forces are reinforcing their positions in Horlivka, 45 kilometers north of Donetsk.
The militants are turning the city into a fortress. Ukrainian soldiers say, new squads have arrived in the separatist-controlled areas, most likely from Chechnya.
Ukrainian soldier, 'Bond': "Ramzan Kadyrov's soldiers are stationed there, right across the field. There are a lot of them too. They are moving every day".
Their guns are silent, for now. Instead, the militants are relocating their vehicles, changing positions. And displaying long-forgotten in Ukraine flags.
Ukrainian soldier: "Two flags of the Soviet Communist regime, and the separatist flags too."
The locals in the occupied territories are still exposed to Russian propaganda. The combatants have changed their stories, though. Instead of the nationalists, they are now trying to scare people with "mercenaries". That is what they call Ukrainian soldiers, who signed a contract with the army.
Ukrainian soldier, 'Petlia' (meaning 'noose'): "They say, Ukrainian military contractors have replaced the conscripts in Donbas. And they say, the contractors are just mercenaries, who have come to massacre the Donbas people. It's their new horror story."
Ukrainian soldier, "Chemist': "We must restore Ukrainian television here, we must. So people could see both sides of the conflict."
A local village, named after communist leader Lenin separates the two armies in the area. It is called a grey zone, which means neither Ukraine nor the militants control the village. The few locals that live here often suffer from random shelling and shooting.
The soldiers tell, the separatists mostly move at nights. Their relocation is hard to monitor, even with the help of night vision goggles. Russia has provided them not only with weapons, but also with advanced equipment and outfit.
Ukrainian soldier, ‘Boom': "Their apparel does a good job of concealing them, our goggles can only detect their faces. Usually a group of three or six men advances, but sometimes there are more."
So far the situation is under control, the soldiers say. The newly-arrived separatist forces act rather disoriented, as if the territory is new to them.
Ukrainian soldier: "They mostly try to provoke us with occasional shooting. They show up, make a few shots, then hide."
Aside from fighting off the militants, Ukrainian soldiers also reinforce their positions. The servicemen believe, the war will inevitably end, and the national flag will appear over Donetsk.