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Ministry of Defense: Fighting continues in Avdiivka industrial area, militants are shelling residential quarters

Ministry of Defense: Fighting continues in Avdiivka industrial area, militants are shelling residential quarters
Kyiv, January 31, 2017.

Avdiivka has been cut off electricity supply; there is heat supply shortage and no water supply. There are civilian casualties. Three Ukrainian troops died in combat yesterday, and 24 were wounded.

The situation in the Avdiivka industrial area and on flanks remains the most difficult one in the entire ATO zone. Militants are also conducting massive shelling attacks at Ukrainian positions near Popasna and Mariupol. “Firefights in the east suburb of Avdiivka continued non-stop yesterday. Enemy continued shelling our positions from every possible direction, in particular from the south (Spartak), south east (Yakovlivka), east (Yasynuvata) and north east (Kruta Balka). The most intense firefights take place in the area between the Avdiivka industrial area and Yakovlivka where the enemy tried to change over to the offensive again, but was stopped. Russian occupational troops incurred severe casualties,” said the spokesman of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine on ATO related issues Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

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Following this, militants continued shelling the Avdiivka industrial area and residential headquarters of the town. Russian proxies used mortar launchers and cannons. They also launched over 80 missiles from Grad multiple rocket launcher system at Avdiivka after midnight, which is over two full ammunition loads. Militants were firing from Donetsk. “As a result of the occupants’ criminal activity, the town has been cut off electricity supply; there is heat supply shortage and no water supply. Moreover, local coking plant, which of the highest importance for the infrastructure of Avdiivka, has stopped. Residential buildings and the hospital were damaged, and there are civilian casualties. All civilians will be evacuated in case hostilities escalate. All war crimes of Russian occupational troops are accurately documented,” informed Col. Motuzyanyk.

OSCE and JCCC are trying to influence militants and agree to cease the hostilities, to make renewal of communal infrastructure possible and let militants evacuate bodies of killed insurgents. According to Ukrainian military intelligence, militants lost 10 people and 25 wounded in this area yesterday. Due to escalation of the situation, joint police detachment was additionally sent to Avdiivka. Avdiivka police department has been put on combat alert.

Militants redeployed a tank element to the vicinity of Spartak and Donetsk airport and fed it into battle yesterday. Butovka coal mine position, Opytne and Pisky came under the strongest tank bombardment since the time of fights for Donetsk airport. Moreover, militants continue active mortar and artillery attacks in this area. “Traditionally, the enemy opens fire from large distance, shooting from residential quarters in Spartak, Yasynuvata and Donetsk,” added the spokesman. Firefights also continue on the left flank in Avdiivka, near Donetsk filtration plant, Kruta Balka and Kamianka. Nevertheless, the situation deescalated in comparison with January 29. Moreover, the situation is quite restless at the Svitlodarsk bulge and near Horlivka, in particular near Zaitseve and Verkhniotoretske.

Three Ukrainian troops died in combat yesterday, and 24 were wounded and sustained injuries. “Two soldiers died in Avdiivka and one in Opytne. Four servicemen were injured in Novozvanivka, Luhanske, Verkhniotoretske and Nevelske, and all the other casualties were wounded in Avdiivka,” explained the spokesman.

In the Mariupol sector the situation is the most difficult in Mariinka district and Pavlopil-Shyrokyne frontline area. “Militants organized two episodes of shooting attacks using heavy armor – in the morning (between 7 and 12 a.m.) and in the evening (between 8 and 12 p.m.). Occupants were repeatedly instigating provocations using small arms and grenade launchers during the day,” said Col. Motuzyanyk. Militants conducted the most intense attack in Krasnohorivka when they were shooting from three types of heavy weapons simultaneously – 82-mm and 120-mm mortar launchers and 122-mm cannons. The launched about 50 shells. “In total, enemy conducted 40 shooting attacks in the Mariupol sector yesterday, and nine of them involved use of heavy armor,” added Col. Motuzyanyk.

In the Luhansk sector militants focused their combat activity in Popasna area. They started shelling Ukrainian positions before the very sunset, shooting till 10 p.m. with recesses. They launched more than 40 mortar shells. Moreover, one armed provocation took place in Stanytsia Luhanska.

Russian proxies conducted 10 shooting attacks in the Luhansk sector yesterday, and six of them involved use of heavy armor.

Report on the military developments as of January 30 is available here. Interactive data on the shelling: chronology shelling chart and the interactive map.

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