A recently published article about Kiev-loyal troops defending Donetsk airport against the Armed Forces of Novorossiya, hints that the battle for the airport might soon be over. The article worth reading from the Los Angeles Times describes the situation of Ukrainian soldiers and volunteers who are defending the airport from the view of a journalist who apparently accompanied them.
Donetsk International Airport, by Icorpus (Youtube-CC-BY)
The article focuses on the main terminal that is in parts still under control by Kiev-loyal troops. They hold the terminals first and second floor while Novorossiyan troops managed to infiltrate the basement and the third floor. One picture from this article also shows Ukrainian troops sitting in a room that seems to be underground. It remains unclear what other parts of the large airport area are controlled by which side. The Ukrainian troops in the main terminal are apparently being supplied by armored vehicles that. The terminal itself is totally destroyed hardly offering shelter from enemy fire and the cold.
While alone the LA times article gives the impression that the Ukrainian troops at the airport are on the loosing edge, also today’s reports on continuous fighting around the airport hint that Novorossiyan troops might be increasing their efforts to conquer the airport. The coming winter would also decrease defense capabilities at least in the main terminal that is heavily damaged and open to natural elements.
Provided the surrounding area of the airport is clear from opponents and the runway is useable, the airport could be used to fly in supplies and reinforcements from Russia as some observers say. Due to the vicinity to the main front line it would be still a target for at least indirect fire. Ukrainian troops would most likely try to prevent using the airport with surface-to-air missile systems against aircraft and artillery fire against the runway if the loose control over the airport. This would also mean that Ukraine would be required to have heavy weaponry as close as possible so with a high chance within a possible buffer zone as initially suggested in September.