Russia-backed militants violate ceasefire most frequently in Donetsk and Mariupol sectors – MoD spokesperson  

Russia-backed militants violate ceasefire most frequently in Donetsk and Mariupol sectors – MoD spokesperson  
September 26, 2016.

Ceasefire violations over the last week decrease. New ceasefire agreement is tried out.

Last week the number of ceasefire violations by Russia-backed militants decreased in comparison with the previous week, stated Vilyen Pidgornyy, Ukrainian Ministry of Defense spokesperson on the Russia-Ukraine military conflict. “On September 19, three Members of the European Parliament – Rebecca Harms, Mikhal Boni and Jaromír Štětina –visited the government-controlled checkpoint of Maryinka, Donetsk region. They witnessed the consequences of militant attacks and insist on maintenance and strengthening of sanctions until Russia and its proxies fulfill Minsk accords,” noted spokesperson. The lowest number of violations was registered on September 20. There were 13 episodes of shelling and gunfire. The highest number of ceasefire violations was registered on September 23 and 24 with 28 and 29 hostile attacks respectively. “Even during the peak days, the number was lower than during the same period of the previous week,” stressed Vilyen Pidgornyy.

According to Pidgornyy, Russia-backed militants violated ceasefire most frequently in Donetsk and Mariupol sectors. The heavy weaponry, which is banned by the Minsk agreements, was exclusively used in the Donetsk sector in the greater area of the Donetsk airport – Avdiivka and Pisky village – as well as in the vicinity of Horlivka and in Novoselivka Druha. The vast majority of ceasefire violations took place in the following areas: Popasna area, Stanytsia Luhanska and neighboring villages of Novozvanivka and Novooleksandrivka in the Luhansk sector; Donetsk airport and Horlivka in the Donetsk sector; “usual” flashpoints in the Mariupol sector, such as Maryinka, Talakivka, Pavopil, Novotroitske, Starohnativka and Vodiane.

Last week number of militant attacks gradually decreased in the Mariupol sector –from 12 ceasefire violations on September 24 to only 3 violations on September 25. This is a record low number over last months.

Last week one Ukrainian serviceman was killed in action and 14 were wounded. Of those injured, 11 were wounded in action and 3 were injured as a result of booby traps explosions.

According to Ukraine’s military intelligence, Russia continues to supply its military and manpower to the eastern Ukraine. Over the last week, a Russian-trained sniper unit as well as Russia’s National Guard unit arrived to Yasynuvata, Donetsk region. “Furthermore, Russia continued rotation of units from the 331rd Airborne Regiment and delivered three additional T-64 battle tanks, four ‘Tiger’ armored vehicles and seven military trucks to Donetsk on September 20,” informed MoD spokesperson on the Russia-Ukraine military conflict.

Representatives of Ukraine and the OSCE within the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk succeeded in pushing for a pilot project of pulling out forces from direct proximity of each other in three areas on the frontline. These are Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrovske. The pull out is only possible if complete and sustained ceasefire in the area is upheld. Russia-backed militants repeatedly obstructed the work of the OSCE monitors. For instance, on September 25, the militants of the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) denied access to the OSCE monitors in Pervomaisk-Zolote area. The militants even built concrete blocks on a road between two towns. Ukrainian Armed Forces on the other hand, according to the spokesperson, are ready to comply with agreements and facilitate the work of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission. The deadline for implementing the initiative of the Trilateral Contact Group is October 4. Meanwhile militants keep violating ceasefire arrangement. “We fully support the initiative but stress the need for reciprocal action, which means that the complete and sustainable ceasefire must remain a priority,” Vilyen Pidgornyy emphasized.

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