Kyiv, February 16, 2016. The situation in the ATO zone escalated dramatically yesterday, on February 16. Militants are increasing the number of attack day by day, using mortar launchers more frequently. In addition to 120-mm mortar launchers, militants used self-propelled artillery mount to shoot at Ukrainian strongholds in Zaitseve. Positions of the Armed Forces near Kominternove, Hnutove, Shyrokine, Krasnohorivka, Mariinka and Maiorsk were caught in mortar fire. Firefights with militants’ subversive reconnaissance groups took place near Mykolaivka and Novotroitske, said ATO Staff spokesman, Colonel Andriy Zadubinnyi, via Skype at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
“Our strongholds near Hranitne, Novhorodske, Opytne, Pisky, Avdiivka and Butivka coal mine were shelled from grenade launchers and large machine guns. In the Luhansk sector Russia-backed militants shot at Ukrainian positions in Triokhizbenka and Sokilnyky,” he added.
According to recent intelligence, militant groups received an order from their Russian supervisors to use 120-mm and 82-mm mortar launchers more frequently when shooting at Ukrainian positions. The situation near Krasnohorivka remains difficult. “The occupants shot at our strongholds from 82-mm and 120-mm mortar launchers, large machine guns and armored personnel carriers. Moreover, ATO strongholds in Krymske, Pisky, Novozvanivka, Talakivka, Mayorsk, Verkhniotoretske and Pavlopol came under militants’ mortar fire,” said Col. Zadubinnyi.
Militants shelled Ukrainian positions 22 times using light arms and grenade launchers. Firefights also took place there. Ukrainian positions in Troitske, Novhorodske, Luhanske, Opytne, Pisky, Troitske, Avdiivka and Butivka coal mine were shelled from grenade launchers and large machine guns.
“Militants used mortar launchers 20 times on February 14 alone. Our strongholds in Krasnohorivka, Pisky, Talakivka, Mayorsk and Zaitseve were caught in fire. Militants used 120-mm mortar launchers in Zaitseve and Krasnohorivka,” added the spokesman.
Russia-backed militant groups shelled Ukrainian strongholds in Luhanske using large machine guns and anti-tank rocket launcher.
According to Col. Zadubinnyi, another firefight took place near Hnutove in the Mariupol sector. Militants used mortar launchers and light arms there.
The situation was difficult in Shyrokine, where militants shelled Ukrainian positions from light arms. ATO troops responded with fire here and in some other areas.
ATO Staff spokesman said that civil-military cooperation team of Mariupol operations tactical force continues working systematically to resume water supply in inhabited localities in areas where Ukrainian marine infantry units are carrying out their mission. “Civil-military administrations and self-governing bodies of Donetsk region, Volnovakha district, Mariupol town and Lebedyn village council organized work of repair crews,” explained Col. Zadubinnyi.