Kyiv, December 22, 2015. The situation in ATO zone has complicated. However, it is controlled by Ukrainian units. 160 attacks and three military clashes were recorded over the last three days. On Saturday, there was a record number – 63, on Sunday – 57 and over the last 24 hours – 39. Yesterday, the intensity of the shelling was slightly higher, said Major Anton Myronovych, ATO spokesperson, via Skype at Ukraine Media Crisis Center. “Since 6 p.m. yesterday, invaders made eight precision attacks with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades near Maryinka,” he said. In addition, a group of at least 30 militants tried to pass between two strongholds of the Ukrainian unit under the guise of attacks. According to Major Myronovych, Ukrainian military caught the insurgents in time, and the latter opened fire. “The ATO forces accepted the fight and pushed the enemy back. Militants suffered losses and retreated. The nature and number of the attackers’ casualties are to be confirmed,” said Major Myronovych and added that another military clash took place near Shchastia in Luhansk region. There were at least 10 militants. “The attackers picked up the injured and the dead and retreated to their starting line,” said Myronovych. In addition, another military clash occurred in Luhansk region near Troitske. During the firefight, the militants retreated with losses.
Armed provocations continue in other areas of the boundary line. Militants continue shelling near Pisky, Opytne, south to Avdiivka. They fired at Krasnohorivka using anti-aircraft units and 82-mm mortars and tanks. Militants fired with 82 mm caliber mortars militants at ATO power bases near Zaitseve close to Horlivka. “They did not use only these weapons but also grenade launchers, small arms and 120mm mortars, tanks and weapons prohibited by Minsk agreements,” said Major Myronovych.
According to him, in Mariupol sector militants fired from 82 mm mortars near Starohnativka. They used 120mm in Luhansk region, towards the Ukrainian positions near Nyzhnyoteple. Twice they used prohibited 120 mm mortars in the direction of Stanytsia Luhanska. “These are only the most striking episodes how pro-Russian hybrid formations violate ceasefire,” emphasized Myronovych. Yesterday, on December 21, the day was relatively quiet. No more than 20 armed provocations were recorded until evening.
According to Major Myronovych, Ukrainian intelligence reports on militants’ combat training, the redeployment of weapons and military equipment and personnel, placing heavy weapons in the temporarily occupied territories. Militants increasingly hinder the work of SMM OSCE and JCCC (Joint center for control and coordination). “In ATO zone our units do not only firmly hold the line, strengthen positions and prepare for any possible challenges from Russian-terrorist forces, but also make every effort to help local people in the liberated territories,” said Major Myronovych. Over the weekend, a group of civil-military cooperation and military personnel visited children in educational institutions, gave gifts, interacted with the kids and celebrated St. Nicholas Day together. Ukrainian military continue to provide assistance to people who live near the boundary line. “Recently, people in Katerynivka, near Popasna, located in so-called gray zone, received help from a military unit, performing tasks as part of the ATO,” he explained.