The overall situation at the frontline remains tense with frequent armed provocations instigated by Russia-backed militants and episodic massive shellings of Ukrainian positions by the enemy. The number of ceasefire violations ranged between 92 on February 24 (at the highest point) and 49 (the next day on February 25 at the lowest).
Militants widely used small arms alongside heavy weapons, such as artillery, tanks and mortars. “For a single time during previous 7 days, the enemy applied rocket artillery having fired 7 Grad missiles with mobile rocket launch system “Grad-P” (Partizan) at Ukrainian positions. Ukrainian Armed Forces have registered about 20 instances of hostile sniper fire last week”, stated Vilyen Pidgornyy, Ministry of Defense spokesperson at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
Avdiivka and adjacent Ukrainian positions to the east and south remain the epicenter of hostilities in the sector. On February 22, militants changed their tactics and started focusing their fire on Svitlodarsk area. The Ukrainian Armed Forces positions in Avdiivka area were subject to enemy fire from 5 to 11 hours daily. “In the morning of February 20, while the intensity of militants’ mortars significantly decreased, the enemy snipers became more involved. The most critical situation in Avdiivka was recorded on February 21, when the enemy fired 180 mortar bombs and 60 tank shells against Ukrainian positions. On February 23, militants fired nearly 100 bombs near Zaitseve”, MOD spokesperson said. The enemy troops also opened fire against the positions of Ukrainian Armed Forces in Svitlodarsk area, at Horlivka perimeter and in Donetsk airport area. The number of daily cease-fire violations of the enemy ranged from 18 (on February 21) to 35 (on February 23). On the weekend, the enemy continued shelling of Avdiivka that lasted for hours. On Saturday and Sunday, enemy tanks intensified fire to the east and south of Avdiivka: near Kamianka and Shahta Butovka position respectively, as well as in Pisky.
No major combat action was registered throughout last week. The militants predominantly used small arms during the daytime. The enemy occasionally opened mortar fire, launching no more than 10 bombs per shelling. The daily number of cease-fire violations ranged from 3 (on February 22) to 11 (February 23). “The militants were active in Popasna area, in Krymske, Lobacheve and Stanytsia Luhanska”, added Mr. Vilyen Pidgornyy.
February 22 was marked by two active shellings of Vodyane by the militants, who used mobile rocket launching system Grad-P and 122 mm artillery in addition to mortars. The militants fired more than a hundred shells of different calibers. On February 20 and 21, the enemy predominantly resorted to gunfire. On February 23, Ukrainian positions near Taramchuk suffered powerful enemy mortar shelling. The daily number of cease-fire violations in the sector ranged between 30 and 35 per day. Over the weekend, the intensity of mortar fire against Ukrainian positions to the east of Mariupol and in Maryinka district slightly increased. On Saturday, enemy tanks opened fire in Vodiane having fired about 15 shells. According to Mr. Pidgornyy, on February 20 Ukrainian police found in Avdiivka a Russian drone that fell down due to hardware failures. The drone was transferred to SSU experts who would examine its characteristics and information the drone managed to obtain while in service.
Last week 4 Ukrainian servicemen were killed in action and 36 servicemen suffered wounds and injuries in action. The wounded servicemen included 8 persons who received wounds in booby-trap bombs explosions. Additionally, a Ukraine State Emergency Service officer, who was critically wounded during enemy shelling in Avdiivka on February 2, died at Dnipro hospital on February 21.
Damage to civilian infrastructure
Thirteen residential buildings at frontline towns of Verhniotoretske, Avdiivka, Krasnohorivka and Maryinka sustained damage as a result of militant attacks last week. In Krasnohorivka, a mortar bomb fired by Russian proxies directly hit a non-residential building. On February 24, the enemy hit high voltage power lines in Avdiivka, which resulted in power outage in residential and industrial areas of the town. Donetsk water filtering station was damaged and, currently, supplies water to residents in limited volumes. In the meantime, Ukraine State Emergency Service officers provided 10 power generators to ease discomfort in residential districts of Avdiivka. “As of now, repair works in the town are being provided by the State Emergency Service as well as by Ukrainian servicemen and volunteers. However, ongoing enemy shellings slow down Ukrainian service technicians”, MOD spokesperson added.
Report on the military developments as of the previous week is available here, as of 27 February is available here. Interactive data on the shelling: chronology shelling chart and the interactive map.