Kyiv, February 16, 2016. The situation on the temporarily occupied territories in Donbas is escalating. The First and the Second Army Corps (AC 1 and 2) are conducting active combat training in line with plans of the South military command of Russia and reconnaissance activities using unmanned aerial vehicles. Moreover, they are providing militants with supplies, first of all ammunition and combustible and lubrication materials, informed representative of the Chief Intelligence Department of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Vadym Skybytskyi at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “Currently, information on preparation to offensive action at ATO troops, circulates among the adversary’s military personnel,” he emphasized.
Skybytskyi said that militants shelled Ukrainian troops’ positions 385 times within a week, involving use o 82-mm and 120-mm mortar launchers. Six Russian troops died and 12 were wounded by so-called “friendly fire”. At the same time, Russia-backed militant groups continue obstructing activity of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission. “On February 7, OSCE monitors were forbidden passage through the forward positions of so-called 9th separate motor rifle regimen of AC 1 towards Vodiane and Pyshchevyk inhabited localities,” stated the Сhief Intelligence Department representative.
According to the recent intelligence, 33 facts of presence of weapons and military equipment which should have been withdrawn to certain distances from the demarcation line were registered on February 5-11. For instance, 35 tanks and four mortar launchers remain in the vicinity of Horlivka, Donetsk, Zorynsk, Yenkieve, Mykhailivka, Kalynivk, Kirovske, Poliove, Shyroka Balka and Yuvileine inhabited localities; 18 artillery systems and self-propelled artillery mounts are located near Bile, Horlivka, Donetsk, Kalyivka, Perevalsk, Sakhanka and Torez; seven Grad multiple rocket launcher systems found not far from Bezimenne, Donetsk, Horlivka, Znamianka, Snizhne, Stakhanov and Torez; two 300-mm Smerch multiple rocket launcher systems remain near Korsun settlement.
Skybytskyi said that AC 1 and 2 has been actively training since February 8 as a part of single system of operational and combat training of the Russian Armed Forces. “Primary attention is given to offensive and counter-offensive action drilling. Accumulation of the hostile weaponry has been proven by space imagery of the military training base near Mospine inhabited locality,” he said. Moreover, Skybytskyi provided data stating that this week Russia brought about 30 trucks with ammunition and munitions, military machines convoys carrying personnel, three military echelons with tanks, armored personnel carriers, self-propelled artillery mounts, D-30 howitzers, Ural military trucks, up to 300 tons of ammunition and over 300 tons of combustible and lubrication materials to the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine. Another military echelon delivered up to 250 tons of ammunition, namely 122-mm and 125-mm artillery shells, 125-mm tank projectiles and anti-tank equipment.
According to the Chief Intelligence Department representative, there is shortage of command staff in the self-proclaimed “Luhansk People’s Republic”. In order to settle this problem, six moths’ officers training course was organized at Luhansk State University of Internal Affairs. Moreover, reserve officers training departments are currently formed in educational institutions to train mobilization reserve from the students. “In the event of marked aggravation of the situation, graduates of reserve officers training departments will be called out for regular military service to staff fighting units of the Second army corps. In May “the authorities” of the self-proclaimed republics intend to start drafting males who have reached the age of 18 years to military service,” emphasized Skybytskyi.
He also informed that with approximation of elections in the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” and “Luhansk People’s Republic” their chiefs are planning to enhance information campaign aimed at discrediting Ukrainian authorities and Ukrainian security agencies.