Kyiv, August 29, 2014. OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (SMM) confirms that Russia-backed militants bring their military equipment and weapons closer to Mariupol. The mission’s drone observed five tanks near Bezimenne village (30 km east of Mariupol), two tanks in the area of Michurine (57 km north-east of Mariupol) and five more by Starolaspa (60 km north-east of Mariupol). Moreover, three heavy artillery pieces have been detected near Oktyabr village (29 km north-east of Mariupol) and five 122 mm self-propelled Gvozdika howitzers with lots of ammunition in the vicinity of Rozdolne (64 km north-east of Mariupol). Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, spokesperson of Administration of the President of Ukraine on ATO-related issues, provided this update while citing the OSCE SMM report at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
Col. Motuzyanyk emphasized that the situation in Mariupol sector intensified, as Russia-backed militants conducted three attacks from 120 mm mortars and two from tanks at Ukrainian positions by Hranitne village. “The invaders used 120 mm mortars, 152 mm artillery [both types exceed 100 mm in violation of Minsk agreements], as well as the Ukrainian forces engaged in combat with the militants in the area of Bohdanivka village. Ukrainian troops skillfully fought off the attack and rolled back the enemy,” added the ATO spokesperson.
In the Donetsk sector, the major hotspots remain areas around the airport. Militants use heavy mortars, artillery, grenade launchers and small arms. Also, one tank attack has been registered in the vicinity of Avdiivka. The militant groups instigated provocations near Krasnohorivka and Maryinka as well. A seven-years-old child was injured after one of such attacks.
According to Col. Motuzyanyk, the militant attacks cut electricity lines to five water-filtering stations, which suspended water supply to militant-controlled towns of Horlivka, Dzerzhynsk, Krasnoarmiysk and Dokuchayevsk. “Situation can be further exacerbated due to the shortage of chlorine used to clean water, which raises fears of spreading disease on militant-controlled territories,” noted Col. Motuzyanuk.
Only one militant provocation involving heavy arms has been registered in the Luhansk sector – pro-Russian fighters fired at Ukrainian positions near Troyitske village from 120 mm mortars. However, they also instigated a number of attacks from grenade launchers and 82 mm mortars, namely in the areas of Shchastya, Stanytsia Luhanska, Tryokhizbenka and Popasna.
Two Ukrainian servicemen were killed in action and three more were wounded in action over the past day.
Col. Motuzyanyk reported the first humanitarian logistics center has opened in Donetsk region. OSCE observers and representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross took part in the opening. The center provides civilians who found themselves living on militant-controlled territories with opportunities to buy food at market prices, get cash from ATM and purchase essential drugs. The center is located on the government-controlled territory to the north of Horlivka between “Zaytseve” checkpoint and “Mayorsk” blockpost of the Ukrainian military.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Security Service detained a militant in Sloviansk. According to the ATO spokesperson, he joined the militants and was on one of the blockposts when the city was occupied. Ukrainian operatives seized two grenades and 60 rounds from him. Moreover, another arms cache was discovered in Vesele village, Donetsk region, in the house of a civilian.