The founder of the Vostok separatist battalion, Alexander Khodakovsky, acknowledged that 13 in his unit were killed and 90 were wounded between March 7th and April 7th.
“The biggest losses were suffered in the industrial zone between Yasynuvata and Avdiivka. This is becoming, as our fighters say, the second Airport*,” he wrote on his LiveJournal page.
“I do not have the information about the losses in the other units, but I can guess that they are considerable too… Only the Vostok battalion and the units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs are in the epicenter of the fighting. So we are carrying the heaviest burden” he stated.
He noted that the Avdiivka industrial zone has lost its strategic value since “no matter what the outcome of the fighting is, this stretch of the route [Donetsk-Horlivka] will not be safe to travel until the war is over. The only things that make us fight there is that we don’t want to give up our territory”.
“There are heavy artillery barrages in the area and even large caliber mortars are used… For us the situation is different now [from the fighting at the Airport]. We have crossed the open spaces and are now directly facing the Ukrainian forces. The advantage is on their side. They [the Ukrainian Forces] can reach their positions directly from their stationary locations. And we, on the other hand, have to cross the fields and open areas to bring the supplies and replace the soldiers,” he added.
Alexander Khodakovsky worked at the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) but defected at the beginning of the conflict in the Donbas. He became a prominent separatist commander and the founder of the Vostok Battalion. He vehemently supports the annexation of the Donbas by Russia.
*The Donetsk Airport is where the heaviest fighting took place last year between Ukrainian forces and the pro-Russian separatists