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Ukraine town ‘deserted and destroyed’ after rebel offensive

The town of Vuglegirsk sits deserted and littered with rubble after pro-Russian rebels advancing on nearby Debaltseve forced out Ukrainian soldiers during days of heavy fighting.

Homes in ruins, downed power lines snaking through the debris and trees reduced to splintered stumps dominate the landscape in this corner of eastern Ukraine.

“Vuglegirsk had 9,500 inhabitants. At most there’s 500 left and most of them live in cellars,” said
rebel commander Alexei, 32, who declined to give his last name. The streets are nearly deserted and there is no sign of life in the buildings, which have neither water, gas, nor electricity.

What happened to Vuglegirsk during its capture by pro-Russian forces is now happening to the next town in the crosshairs - the strategic rail hub of Debaltseve, where Ukrainian government troops are almost encircled. Rebels are gaining ground as they close in on Debaltseve, which is roughly halfway between the separatist strongholds of Donetsk and Lugansk. They have been pounding the beleaguered town with rocket launchers.
Agencies

Agencies

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