Kyiv, January 22. 2016. The situation became more difficult in the ATO zone today. “Russia-backed militants were shooting at our positions during the night using weapons prohibited by the Minsk Agreements,” said ATO Staff spokesman, Colonel Andriy Zadubinnyi, via Skype at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
In the Mariupol direction pro-Russian militant groups used 120-mm mortar launchers near Starohnativka. They shot at ATO troops’ stronghold near Talakivka using mortar launchers and an anti-tank missile system. In the vicinity of Donetsk airport militants shelled ATO forces positions in Pisky, Opytne, Krasnohorivka and Mariinka using grenade launchers, large machine guns and small arms. Moreover, insurgents shot from large machine guns at the Svitlodarsk bulge, near Troitske and Zaitseve, and a grenade launcher was used in the vicinity of Mayorsk. “Russia-backed militants shot from automatic machine gun in the Luhansk sector near Zolote,” informed the spokesman. 69 cases of ceasefire violation by militants were recorded on January 21, most of them in the vicinity of Donetsk airport. Russia-backed militant groups used grenade launchers, large machine guns and small arms. Moreover, a sniper’s activity was observed. “Militants were shooting at our stronghold in the vicinity of Luhanske settlement on the border of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, attacking by aimed fire from grenade launchers, small arms and armored personnel carriers,” said Col. Zadubinnyi. He added that a mortar launcher was used in Talakivka on the same day. The armistice was also violated in Starohnativka.
A series of militants’ provocations was recorded near Mariinka, Pisky, Avdiivka, Butivka coal mine, Novhorodske and Zaitseve (Donetsk sector). Militants used small arms, grenade launcher and mortar launcher in Shyrokyne.
The situation remained tense in the vicinity of Donetsk airport on January 20, the other flashpoints being Zaitseve, Mariinka and Opytne. Militants shot from a mortar launcher at Ukrainian troops’ strongholds near Vodiane and Talakivka (Mariupol sector) and Butivka coal mine (Donetsk sector). “In total, militants violated the ceasefire 115 times on January 19, 20 and 21,” said Col. Zadubinnyi. He added that Ukrainian troops under such conditions “continue strictly observing the armistice”. “Our troops respond with authorized fire from weapons envisaged by the Minsk Agreements only as the last resort, in case of direct threat to life and health of civilians and ATO troops,” said the spokesman.