Kyiv, February 15, 2015. A ceasefire regime has been declared at midnight, February 15. Vladyslav Seleznyov, acting spokesman of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Anotoliy Stelmakh, ATO Staff spokesman, Vyacheslav Abroskin, head of the regional police administration in the Dontesk region, and Oleksandr Honcharenko, Ukrainian military officer in Debaltseve, provided an updated information about the situation in the ATO zone during the press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
Pro-Russian militants decreased the scale of their attacks; however, they continued to shell positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces at the Debaltseve direction. Insurgents used mortars near Zolote and Luhanske (Luhansk region). They also fired from assault rifles and grenade launchers, attacking Chornukhine and Sanzharivka. “Pro-Russian militants fired from the artillery twice on Zolote, Popasna and Chornukhine. Toshkivka also came under the mortar fire. Overall, Pro-Russian militants attacked the Ukrainian Armed Forces 10 times. Ukrainian forces did not suffer any casualties from the moment when the ceasefire was declared” said Anatoliy Stelmakh, ATO Staff spokesperson, via Skype.
Over the last day, the ATO forces experienced the most intense fighting with pro-Russian insurgents that has ever occurred in the last months. Russian regulars and pro-Russian militants amassed their forces near Debaltseve, trying to encircle the Ukrainian forces at whatever costs. Militants attacked the Ukrainian military positions and peaceful civilian districts 167 times in the last 24 hours. “Insurgents fired from the artillery 31 times, 38 times from mortars, 26 from Grad multiple rocket launchers and 6 from tanks,” Anotoliy Stelmakh said.
The most intense fighting continued near Debaltseve, Kamyanka and Chornukhine. Ukrainian Armed Forced successfully repelled several attacks at the Mariupol direction near Shyrokine. “Ukrainian soldiers eliminated 600 insurgents and 200 more were wounded. The enemy lost 30 units of military equipment,” the ATO spokesman concluded.
The ATO spokesman noted that there are still occasional incidents of provocative actions. Thus militants attempted to storm Ukrainian military positions with tanks and IFVs near Chornukhine. Militants shelled Debaltseve from mortars in order to provoke the Ukrainian soldiers to retaliate. Despite the occasional aggressive actions of the pro-Russian militants, the overall situation demonstrates a trend toward the restoration of stability and the implementation of ceasefire throughout the entire ATO zone.