Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Rebel Stronghold in Ukraine Braces for Its Showdown

Crimes Rise in Donetsk as Pro-Russia Separatists Await Attack; Mayor Keeps Parks Tended, Pleads Against Bombs

By Philip Shishkin, WSJ
Updated July 9, 2014 6:46 a.m. ET

DONETSK, Ukraine—In a city filled to the brim with pro-Russia insurgents bracing for a showdown with the Ukrainian military, public transport continues to run, state pensions are paid, parks are impeccably tended and the municipal water supply is being restored.

Much of that is because Donetsk, despite hosting a separatist movement hostile to all things Ukrainian, still has its popular, elected mayor, who has kept his job by refusing to take sides.

Alexander Lukyachenko, a civil engineer by training, has focused instead on maintaining essential services in this vibrant city of a million residents. "I don't do politics," he says.

All around him, the facade of normalcy is crumbling, as Donetsk descends deeper into the vortex of separatist forces that have upended life in parts of eastern Ukraine.

(More here.)

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