Kyiv, March 17, 2016. One Ukrainian serviceman died in combat in the ATO zone yesterday and two were wounded. “Russia-backed militant groups violated the ceasefire in Popasna district in the Luhansk sector. The enemy shot at our positions using anti-tank guided missile system. Moreover, ATO forces repelled an attack of militants’ subversive reconnaissance group consisting of up to 15 militants in the same area,” said spokesman of Presidential Administration on ATO-related issues Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
Militants shelled ATO troops’ positions in the Donetsk sector using mortar launchers, armored vehicles and anti-tank guided missile systems. “Attacks take place both at night and during the day, almost non-stop. Several residential buildings were damaged during shelling,” said the spokesman. Avdiivka remains another hotspot. “Militants deployed sufficient forces in this sector: armored vehicles (armored personnel carriers (APC) and tanks), mortar battery and snipers. Militants are shooting mostly from the east (Yasynuvata-Mineralne section of the frontline),” informed Col. Motuzyanyk. Moreover, several intense attacks involving use of APC took place in Luhanske at the Svitlodarsk bulge, and two mortar assaults were registered in Troitske.
In the Mariupol sector militants used mortar launchers several times in Krasnohorivka and Shyrokyne. “Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevicius observed evening mortar shelling militants conducted in Shyrokyne with his own eyes, becoming personally certain of aggressive behavior of militant groups and Russia,” said Col. Motuzyanyk. He added that militants’ snipers became active in Mariinka district, where five incidents were registered in the last 24 hours. The total of 11 attacks took place in the Mariupol sector yesterday.
Col. Motuzyanyk said that during check of a detainee escort officer in Donetsk region it was found that in 2014 he delivered the detained to commandant’s office of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”). “Close cooperation of police and prosecutor’s office helped to discover connection between the policeman and occupants,” said the spokesman. He said that the police of Donetsk region revealed more than 100 militants from Russia-backed militant groups “Vostok”, “Oplot”, “Cheburashka” and “Cossacks”.