Debaltsevo, Feb 19 - DAN. Some 1,500 residents of the Donetsk People’s Republic gathered at a rally in Debaltsevo to commemorate the Republic’s servicemen killed in the fighting to liberate the town from the Ukrainian army. The event took place at the memorial “Stone for the brothers and sisters killed by Ukrainian raiders in 2014-2015.”

The meeting was attended by DPR Head Denis Pushilin, DPR parliament speaker Vladimir Bidevka, his LPR counterpart Denis Miroshnichenko, Debaltsevo administration acting head Igor Marinkov, activists of the social movements Donetsk Republic, Mir Luganschine and Young Republic and local residents.

“I’m glad to welcome you in the town of military glory. It was Debaltsevo that became a symbol of courage of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics residents in 2015. It was then that we showed our resolve to fight for our future, freedom and victory,” Pushilin said. “In 2015, the Republics engaged the enemy together and won a convincing victory which will go down in the history of Donbass.”

The participants observed a minute of silence for the dead. Miroshnichenko read the greetings sent by LPR Head Leonid Pasechnik.

“Four years ago, the LPR and the DPR carried out a historic Chernukhino-Debaltsevo operation. We showed the Ukrainian Nazis that Donbass was strong in its unity. Defending one’s land together, we can defeat any enemy. We paid a terrible price for the sake of this big victory. It is important to remember and venerate our fellow countrymen’s feat,” Pasechnik said.

A flower laying ceremony took place at the end of the meeting.

A similar rally was held in Chernukhino on Monday.

Debaltsevo is located in the northern part of the Donetsk People’s Republic. In 2014, it was seized by Kiev regime gunmen who had invaded Donbass.  The DPR took control of the town on February 18, 2015. The Republic's Defence Ministry reported that the retreating Ukrainian forces had blasted a number of infrastructure facilities, including the largest regional railway station. Some 80 percent of buildings in the town were ruined and the whole area was mined by the Ukrainian military.

After liberating the town, the DPR authorities announced Debaltsevo restoration among  their key priorities. Four years after the fierce fighting, Debaltsevo lives a peaceful life. It has functioning schools, health care centres and sport facilities. The rebuilding efforts are ongoing.*jk*pp