The situation in eastern Ukraine deteriorated in late January, with volunteer squads beginning a trade blockade against the occupied territories.
This move was supported by ordinary Ukrainians, who are increasingly unhappy over rising utility rates. Ukraine still imports coal from the occupied territories, and people are angry that their money is going to Russian proxies. Shortly after the start of the blockade, the militants, supported by Russian forces, unleashed massive attacks outside Avdiyivka, shelling residential areas. With outside temperatures down to -20°C, the shelling cut off heating and power for days.
More about recent tendencies you can read in our new report “Escalation in Donbas — But Notable Reforms and Economic Growth”.