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Ministry of Defense: Militants use artillery in Luhansk sector

Ministry of Defense: Militants use artillery in Luhansk sector
Kyiv, January 05, 2017.

The situation in the East Ukraine escalated yesterday. “Number of attacks increased to 52 incidents, which is a record high number in the 2017. The enemy used heavy arms prohibited by the Minsk agreements in all three sectors. It is the first time in the past fortnight that the occupant forces used artillery in Luhansk sector,” said the spokesman of the Ministry of Defense on ATO related issues Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

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Militants made 16 attacks in the Luhansk sector, and a half of them involved use of heavy arms, most of them in Novozvanivka-Troitske area. “Despite these attacks being brief, Russian proxies launched almost 50 mortar shells and four artillery missiles at our positions in this area yesterday. Adversaries widely used various grenade launchers and machine guns simultaneously with heavy weapons in this area,” said the spokesman. Russia-backed militant groups violated ceasefire in Stanytsia Luhanska twice using grenade launchers and small arms. The armistice held in the vicinity of Slovianoserbsk, in the Bakhmut road and in Popasna.

Russia-backed militants violated ceasefire 15 times in 24 hours in the Donetsk sector, using mortar launchers six times. Half of all the attacks took place at the Svitlodarsk bulge. “Each hostile attack out of seven near Luhanske lasted around one hour. Adversaries widely used mortar launchers and armored personnel carriers together with light weapons,” said Col. Motuzyanyk. Two intense firefight, each two hours long, took place in the Avdiivka industrial area. No heavy weapons were used. Moreover, militants opened fire twice in the adjacent Kruta Balka. Russia-backed militants used small arms in Zaitseve during the day, and shelled Ukrainian positions from mortar launchers in the evening. The armistice held in the vicinity of the Donetsk airport.

21 militants’ attacks took place in the Mariupol sector, four of them involved use of heavy arms, all of them in Pavlopil-Shyrokyne line. The situation was the most restless in Vodiane and Shyrokyne where militants used mortar launchers and armor.

Ukrainian Armed Forces incurred no losses in combat yesterday, and one serviceman was wounded in mortar attack at the Svitlodarsk bulge.

Col. Motuzyanyk informed that law enforcement officers found a weapons cache in Novoluhanske (Bakhmut district, Donetsk region) yesterday. Ten anti-tank mines, nine TNT blocks and a F-1 grenade were seized from the cache. “Owner of the cache is being identified at present,” added the spokesman.

Col. Motuzyanyk also sad that Ukrainian military engineers put up additional banners near Vynohradne in the Mariupol sector warning against the danger of planted mines. The spokesman reminded that these measures are taken by the Ministry of Defense jointly with the OSCE Projects Coordinator’s Office.

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