Debaltseve railway station in 2010
|Area||24.31 km2 (9.39 sq mi)|
|Elevation||308 m (1,010 ft)|
Debaltseve or Debaltsevo ("Ukrainian: Деба́льцеве Debálʼtseve, "Russian: Деба́льцево Debálʼtsevo) is a city in the "Donetsk Oblast ("province) of "Ukraine. Administratively, it is incorporated as a "city of oblast significance. The city is situated on the eastern edge of "Donetsk Oblast, and borders "Luhansk Oblast. In January 2014, the population was estimated at 25,525. On 18 February 2015, after the "Battle of Debaltseve, the town was captured by separatists forces from the "Donetsk People's Republic.
Distance from Donetsk: by road - 74 km, by air – 58 km. Distance from Kiev: by road - 803 km, by rail - 797 km. The administrative boundary between the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts lies along the eastern limits of the city.
The city is located on a hill from which many Donbass rivers originate. The river Bulavin (a tributary of the river Krynka, Mius basin) originates in the southern outskirts of the city, the river Lozova (a tributary of the river Lugan, Seversky Donets basin) in the north-east, the river Sanzharivka (a tributary of the river Lugan) in the north, the river Skelevaya (a tributary of the river Lugan) in the north-west, and the river Karapulka (a tributary of the river Lugan) in the western outskirts.
|Climate of Debaltseve|
|Average max, °C||-4||-3,3||1,9||13,1||20,4||24,2||26,4||25,5||19,9||11,1||3,6||-1,4||11,4|
|Average temperature, °C||-7||-6,5||-1,5||8,0||15,0||18,8||20,9||19,9||14,3||6,6||0,7||-3,9||7,1|
|Average min, °C||-9,8||-9,3||-4,5||3,6||9,8||13,7||15,6||14,7||9,7||3,1||-1,8||-6,4||3,2|
|Rate of precipitation, mm||47,2||38,8||34,5||40,8||43,8||61,5||57,6||48,3||31,2||43,7||44,6||52,1||545|
Debaltseve city was founded in 1878 as a railway station due to the construction of the Catherine railway (special government railway of Russian empire built in 1882-1904). Though at that time this station was well-equipped, it had a number of disadvantages: lack of office buildings, nowhere to place inspectors, a railway hospital was a room with eight beds in a paramedic’s apartment. On December 1, 1878 regular train traffic commenced at the Donetsk coal line. The station has been built by landless peasants and poor people from surrounding villages. By 1897, 2048 people inhabited the village close by the railway station. From November 25 to November 27, 1898 a first strike at the station took place. 60 pointsmen were not working demanding reduction of a 16-hour duty shift.
Originally, "Debaltseve" (="Debal'tsevo" in Russian) is associated with the neighbouring village Illinka which in the 19th century was given to the State Counselor Ilya Deboltsov (born in 1747 - buried in 1827) for taking part in the suppression of "the uprising of the Decembrists in 1825. After a while Illinka got its second informal name - Deboltsovka. That's how it was shown on maps of the 19th century, and the station which is based on the northern borders of the estate Deboltsova was named Debaltsevo.
In 1894, close to the station a mechanical factory was built that produced building trusses, spans of railway bridges, trolleys for narrow-gauge railway. On May 1, 1899 the first strike took place at the mechanical factory. First of all the strikers demanded to reduce the working day from 10 hours 30 minutes to 10 hours, secondly announce May 1 a non-working day, and lastly put an end to arbitrariness of masters and improve living conditions. After assuring strikers to fulfill their demands, the administration failed to keep to its promises. As a result, on May 3 workers left the factory half an hour earlier. With the support of local authorities and the police, businessmen suppressed the strike, completely rejecting the workers' demands. On the eve of "the Revolution in 1905 Social Democratic party was created. Mechanics T.E. Batyschenko, A.I. Vaschaev, A.F. Svistunov, S.P. Fedoseyev and locomotive drivers G.G. Larkin, L.G. Martynenko joined the party. Debaltseve workers took an active part in the first Russian revolution.
At the beginning of February 1905 in protest against the crackdown on "the peaceful rally of workers in St. Petersburg employees of Debaltseve mechanical factory stopped working for a few days. On May 1 together with the railway workers they arranged "Mayovka in the forest.
In 1905-1908 a freight station and two depots were built. Carriage workshops were expanded as well. In 1911 Debaltseve population reached 20 thousand people. There were two small hospitals, an outpatient clinic, one parochial, one zemskaya (derivates from "Zemstvo – elective district council in pre-revolutionary Russia) and one railway schools in the city.
During "the February Revolution, the Civil War and up to the establishment of Soviet power in 1919, the city Debaltseve repeatedly passed "from hand to hand". At different periods of time in Debaltseve were "Don Cossacks, and "Denikin's forces and "the Red Army. Already a few days after "the October armed coup "Central Council of "Ukrainian People's Republic adopted "the III Universal and they declared Debaltseve part of the "Ukrainian People's Republic, the actual power in the city was established only during the reign of "Hetman Skoropadskiy (from April to December 1918) when Donbass was occupied by the Austro-German troops.
In 1919, Debaltseve was attacked by an armored train "Power to the Soviets!" (Russian: “Власть Советам!” “Vlast Sovetam!”). The commander of the train was Ludmila Mokievskaya-Zubok (1896 – May 9, 1919, a Russian Red Army revolutionary, an active participant in the Civil War in 1918-1919, the only well-known woman - the commander of an armored train). During the battle for the station she died. But after "the Bolsheviks took control over Debaltseve, troops of "Lieutenant General Denikin fought the city back. The Soviet power in Debaltseve was established only by the end of 1919.
In 1921 Debaltseve received the status of "uyezd city of Bakhmut (later - Yenakieve) district of "Donetsk governorate of "Ukrainian SSR. In 1921, among the workers - 65.9% were employed in the transport field (at the railway station and workshops), 15.7% - office personnel. In 1925 there was a reconstruction of the mechanical factory. Now it was equipped for blast-furnace and rolling production. Debaltseve received a status of a “city” in 1938. By 1939, there were water supply and electricity. There were built a Palace of Culture for 1200 seats and a stadium. Moreover, a branch of the Kharkiv Institute of Railway started to operate in the city.
In early December 1941 in Debaltseve direction offensive and defensive battles of "World War II started. After German troops were defeated in "the Red Army’s attack at "Rostov-on-Don, the enemy began offensive operations on the final capture of "Donbass. In this regard, the 52nd Italian division "Torino" and General Schwedler’s troops were sent. At the front of the 12th Army began a fierce battle. The Red Army represented by the 71st "NKVD Brigade (consisting of the 95th Border Regiment, the 172nd, the 175th and the 176th Infantry Regiments), the 74th Infantry Division (consisting of the 78th, the 109th and the 306th Infantry Regiments) commanded by General Fiodor Sherdin, and the 176th Infantry Division as part of the 404th and the 591st Regiments (commander - Major General Vladimir Martsinkevich) resisted the enemy in this area.
The German superiority in manpower, machinery and aviation was clear and Soviet troops were forced to retreat after bloody battles. On December 2 the offensive began in "the Luhan River direction. At the same time the Italian Division began to move towards "Voroshilovgrad. The fiercest fighting lasted December 8 − 15. The Red Army inflicted heavy losses on the enemy. In the daily fight of December 8, 1941 at the station Borzhikovka units under the command of Martsinkevich killed 428 Germans (among them 3 officers), seized two 75 mm "cannons, 1 "mortar, 1 machine gun, 15 rifles, 7 submachine guns, 1 radio, 50 ammunition boxes (mortars), 5 ammunition boxes (cartridges), and a staff car with documents. During twenty-four hours on December 10, 1941 the Italian Division "Torino" by two regiments continually attacked positions of the 1st Motorized Infantry Battalion which repelled nine enemy attacks and made two counterattacks.
German troops sought at any price to complete the occupation of Donbass as fast as possible. Germany was in need of the biggest factories of the region, its natural resources.
On December 15 after multiple air raids supported by attacks of fresh infantry and motorized units, the enemy pressed the position of the 74th Infantry Division and fully occupied Debaltseve. However, some pockets of resistance in the city did not abate until December 22 when the soldiers of the 74th Division, the 95th NKVD Regiment and separate parts of the 71st Brigade burst in Debaltseve and captured the city. German troops suffered heavy losses in personnel; staff documents of the 117th Infantry Regiment were seized, as well as its banner, a war diary and record materials of personnel, and "Iron Crosses meant for keeping up fighting spirit of the German soldiers.
But the German Army could not accept the loss of an important railway junction and brought up fresh reserves. Therefore, from December 23 to December 26 they continuously attacked Soviet troops which failed to fortify its position in the city. The fighting went on day and night. Soviet soldiers were fiercely fighting for each stone building. Fierce fighting took place near the military camp in the area of the district called "The First Platform. On December 26 Soviet soldiers of the 74th Infantry Division were ordered to leave the city. Together with fighters from the 71st Brigade they left Debaltseve, took up and strengthened defensive positions at a height of 326.6 m, near the "Tolstova settlement. The 95th NKVD Regiment remained there until March 1, 1942.
The fighting on the front line which went across the eastern boundary of Debaltseve did not stop even at the beginning of January 1942. The 176th Infantry Division went into the offensive, and captured settlements Komisarivka and "Oktyabrskiy. Again street battles as well as sniper fire broke out in the city. Again Soviet troops were forced to retreat, fortified their positions along the eastern boundary of the city on the already controlled heights of a forest ravine. Here, the front line was stabilized until the summer of 1942.
During first “"five-year plans” the railway station and mechanical factory underwent reconstruction. The factory started to produce foundry ladles, iron and slag carriages, gates for blast furnaces.
In the 1970s there were new multistorey "microdistricts built, such as “"Cheriomushki” (in the north-east of the city), “"30th anniversary of the Victory” and ""Eastern"; in the 1980s – the ""Festival" microdistrict.
In 2014 the city was part of the area of an "armed conflict and stayed for some time under the control of "the Donetsk People’s Republic. Debaltseve was first damaged on July 24, 2014 − its central market burned down and a private house nearby was destroyed. On July 25 militia counterattacked Ukrainian troops in the area of the city. On July 26 there were reports that Ukrainian forces has been shelling the city with multiple launch rocket systems ""Grad", the attack was carried out from the side of "Svitlodarsk city. On July 28 in Debaltseve there were battles between units of militia and the Ukrainian army. On July 29 Ukrainian forces managed to take the city under its full control.
On January 23, 2015 DPR forces launched an offensive on the city. The main goal of this offensive was an encirclement of the Ukrainian forces and a formation of the "Debaltseve pocket". When the sides started to exchange fire the city was cut off electricity, heating and means of communications. Local residents had to hide and stay in shelters for a long time. Even before the final assault public utilities were already not working in the city. Early February Ukrainian authorities evacuated civilians from the city.
On February 16 united DPR and LPR troops entered Debaltseve and started "street combats. Two days later Debaltseve was taken by the forces of the two self-proclaimed republics. Before leaving the city Ukrainian troops destroyed railway infrastructure. On February 18, 2015 DPR authorities announced the establishment of their control over the city. Alexander Afendikov was appointed to the post of mayor. On February 19 restoration work began.
At the beginning of 2015 the city was significantly destroyed during the "fighting in this area. According to Mayor Alexander Afendikov, appointed by DPR authorities, 80% of the city was destroyed.
On March 28, 2015 a train № 6603 Yasinuvata – Luhansk started to work, passing by Yenakieve and Debaltseve. Taking into consideration that the contact network was destroyed, a train operates on diesel traction. According to Russian media, 8,000 residents returned to the city in 2015 and representatives of the DPR aimed to repair the city before winter 2016.
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