Donetsk, Feb 7 – DAN. DPR Head Aleksandr Zakharchenko expressed the hope that the Donbass conflict would be resolved through Contact Group talks in Minsk.

“Hopefully, Minsk negotiations will continue, and we’ll defend our borders and our territory peacefully, without fighting. Today, we have a 50-50 chance for this,” Zakharchenko said at a meeting with Donetsk students on Tuesday.

The situation on the contact line in Donbass has deteriorated dramatically. On 27 January 2017, Ukrainian heavy artillery delivered massive strikes at DPR towns. In subsequent days, Kiev forces continued to intensify shelling, using Uragan and Grad multiple launch rocket systems, heavy mortars, tanks, self-propelled howitzers, infantry fighting vehicle cannons and other weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements.

The escalation resulted in numerous civilian casualties. Hundreds of houses and infrastructure facilities were damaged. *jk