Ministry of Defense: Russia-backed militants intensify use of weapons banned by Minsk

Ministry of Defense: Russia-backed militants intensify use of weapons banned by Minsk
October 17, 2016.

Throughout the week of October 10th to 16th there was an uptick of ceasefire violations committed by Russia-backed militants in Luhansk and Mariupol sector in the ATO area. Much less of hostile activities occurred in the Donetsk sector. “Russian proxy forces intensified the use of heavy weapons banned by Minsk agreements, particularly 82 and 120 mm mortars and 120 and 152 mm artillery. Hostile tank fire was observed as well,” said Vilyen Pidgornyy, Ministry of Defense spokesperson, presenting a weekly military report at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

Key Flashpoint: Mariupol Sector

Mariupol sector had the biggest number of hostile attacks, use of heavy weapons and the most extensive geography of ceasefire violations, stretching from Maryinka and Krasnohorivka all the way to Talakivka and Shyrokyne village. “The militants fired 320 rounds from heavy weapons at Ukrainian positions by Shyrokyne,” said Pidgornyy, noting the militants grossly violate Minsk accords.

Russian proxies shift attacks from Donetsk to Luhansk sector

Novooleksandrivka and Novozvanivka were two major flashpoints in the Luhansk sector. The militants expanded conflict zones yesterday to include Krymske village, Tryokhizbenka and Popasna.

By contrast, the number of ceasefire violations in the Donetsk sector decreased, remaining largely in Adviivka area and the Horlivka perimeter.

Casualties

Three Ukrainian troops were killed in action and 31 servicemen were wounded in action over the last week.

A male adult was wounded in the town of Zolote during militant artillery shelling, while a woman got injuries due to booby trap explosion in Maryinka.

Infrastructure damages

Twenty-four buildings and objects of the infrastructure were damaged due to hostile shelling in Zolote, Popasna, Avdiivka and Maryinka. Of these, 17 are residential buildings, Popasna hospital and a local emergency service office in Maryinka.

Humanitarian aid

Ukrainian authorities arranged access and safe passage through government checkpoints on the contact line of 109 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid for civilians living on the militant-controlled areas in eastern Ukraine. Pidgornyy clarified the trucks contained food, baby food, hygiene items and other essentials. The aid was provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross and Ukrainian and foreign charity funds.

Russian field commander killed in Donetsk

Arsen Pavlov, 33, also known as Motorola, was killed in Donetsk. The incident took place in the lift of a residential house where he lived after the detonation of improvised explosive ordnance.

Pidgornyy noted that Pavlov was a citizen of the Russian Federation hailing from the Komi Republic. In the spring of 2014, he was among those who tried to launch an armed mutiny in Kharkiv. Once it failed, Motorola joined the ranks of Russia-backed militants, fighting against in key battles of the conflict in Sloviansk, Savur-Mohyla and the Donetsk airport.

The militant commander was suspect of committing war crimes, such as torturing civilians and military captives and marauding civilian households. “The most cynical and violent act was a murder of an injured Ukrainian soldier Ihor Branovytsky who defended the Donetsk airport. The Ukrainian soldier was captured by the militants and later killed by Motorola,” said MOD spokesperson.

Despite his fame in Russia’s state-run media, Pidgornyy noted the militant’s real authority was limited, since every leadership position in Russia’s proxy army is occupied by Russian regulars.

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