Kyiv, February 16, 2016. Situation in ATO zone escalated over the last day. “Adversary is using heavy weapons banned by the Minsk agreements – mortars in particular in each third attack it makes. Over 200 mines were fired upon Ukrainian positions yesterday. Occupants also used self-propelled artillery systems in the Donetsk sector,” said Colonel Motuzyanyk, spokesman of Presidential Administration on ATO-related issues at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. He added that intensification of militant actions may be explained by arrival of another so-called “humanitarian convoy” from the Russian Federation. According to the information by the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry two more echelons have arrived to Ilovaysk railway station carrying military assistance to militants including 12 tanks, six infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), and large quantity of ammunition and diesel fuel.
In the Luhansk sector militants violated ceasefire twice, north of the Bakhmutska road. “Both attacks lasted 20 minutes. ATO forces returned fire in one of the incidents,” noted the ATO spokesman. In the Donetsk sector turbulent situation is holding all along the contact line. “Fiercest combat actions take place at the Zaitseve-Mayorsk contact line. Over a dozen of hostile mortar attacks were registered in this area yesterday. Occupants also used artillery there – 122-mm Gvozdika self-propelled artillery systems,” said Colonel Motuzyanyk. Militants also fired upon the positions of ATO forces 15 times near Novhorodske, four times at the Svitlodarsk salient including once from an IFV. Turbulent situation is observed in the Donetsk airport area, however heavy weapons were not used.
In the Mariupol sector systematic attacks on the frontline positions of ATO forces continue near Krasnohorivka and Maryinka. “Enemy is using a wide range of weapons: from small arms to mortars. Occupants usually get active around 17 hours and conduct dense fire over the next two-three hours,” said Colonel Motuzyanyk. Militant subversive group attacked a stronghold of ATO forces between Mykolayivka and Dokuchayevsk, combat engagement between Ukrainian troops and the subversive group occurred. “Militant groups were also firing upon Ukrainian positions between Pavlopil and the Sea of Azov yesterday. Enemy made about ten mortar attacks,” said the ATO spokesman.
Moreover Russian troops intensified activities at the administrative border with Crimea. “Flights of the Russian military aviation were registered including three jet aircrafts, two Mi-8 helicopters and two unmanned aerial vehicles,” noted Colonel Motuzyanyk. “Three Ukrainian servicemen were killed in action over the last day, six were wounded in action,” said Colonel Motuzyanyk. According to intelligence several Russian troops were killed in action near Zaitseve and Mayorsk. It is reported that “three zinc coffins were sent from the morgue of Horlivka to Russia.”
Law enforcement staff detained a resident of Izmail nicknamed “Yemelyan” recruited by Russia’s Security Service in Maykop (Adygea, Northern Caucasus) where he worked. He was recruited to collect military-related information. “The man said five more Izmail residents were similarly detained in Maykop, they were interrogated about the location of Ukrainian military units,” added Colonel Motuzyanyk.
Another weapons cache was discovered in Luhansk region. “Ten F-1 and RGD-5 grenades, 148 ammunition pieces for mounted and automatic grenade launchers as well as a large number of ammunition rounds were seized,” said the ATO spokesman. One more cache with six F-1 grenades and two antitank grenades was discovered in a garage in Adviivka. Law enforcement staff also neutralized a MON-50 directional type mine. “The explosive device was installed near the ATO stronghold in the area of the Bakhmutska road, Luhansk region. Its firing mechanism was directed towards the road and could have detonated at any time that could lead to a tragedy,” said Colonel Motuzyanyk.