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Debaltsevo mayor says 2,000 people returned after battle

February 25, 2015, 16:07 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Around 5,000 people were there immediately after the combat actions ended, now refugees are starting to return and there are a total of 7,000 citizens, Debaltsevo mayor said
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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, February 25. /TASS/. Some 2,000 citizens have come back to Debaltsevo after the fighting in the eastern Ukrainian strategic city ended, the local mayor said on Wednesday.

"Around 5,000 people were there immediately after the combat actions ended, now refugees are starting to return and there are a total of 7,000 citizens," mayor Alexander Afendikov was quoted by the Donetsk news agency as saying.

According to the local city council, before the war started in eastern Ukraine in April 2014, Debaltsevo, a strategic railway hub, was home to more than 25,000 people.

The agency reports that the humanitarian situation in Debaltsevo is reaching critical levels, as 80% of residential buildings have been destroyed. No organizations are working there.

Starting from Wednesday, a central hospital has resumed operations in the city. The authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk people’s republic have set up warming and food distribution facilities in the streets.

DPR’s Emergencies Minister Alexey Kostrubitsky told the agency just 500 people live in the neighboring Uglegorsk, which has been severely affected by the fighting. Before the war, some 7,000 people resided there.

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