Kyiv, February 17, 2015. Over the night of 16-17 February the number of times that the Ukrainian troops came under fire has slightly decreased. At the same time Russian and militant groups focused their attacks on Debaltseve and nearby areas. “Militants used the artillery and mortars to shell Popasna, Sanzharivka and Chornukhyne. The enemy struck the city of Debaltseve three times using Grad multiple rocket launchers,” said Anatoliy Stelmakh, spokesman for the ATO Staff via Skype, at a briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
Militans shelled Novotoshkivske twice with Grad missile systems and Zolote once with mortars at the Luhansk direction over the last night. At the Donetsk front, Pro-Russian mercenaries fired from mortars at Opytne close to the Donetsk airport. At the Mariupol front, militants fired upon Shyrokyne. “The enemy fired 15 times at the Ukrainian positions over the last night,” added the ATO Staff spokesman.
Overall, Russian and insurgent forces shelled the Ukrainian Armed Forces with Grad 21 times, 5 times with the artillery, 19 times from mortars and grenade launchers in the course of the last night.
Anatoliy Stelmakh noted that the Ukrainian Armed Forces control the village of Lohvynove and the road between Artemivsk and Debaltseve “Lohvynove is located within the impact area of the Ukrainian artillery. There was fierce fighting for several days. However, our block posts currently stand in the outskirts of the village. The village is actually within the area of our control. Artemivsk-Debalseve road is fully controlled by the Ukrainian military,” said ATO Staff spokesman.