Overall, the number of ceasefire violations ranged between 69 on Wednesday, March 8, and 122 on Monday, March 6.
The situation on the frontline did not change significantly last week. “Enemy actions were marked with disregard of Minsk agreements; namely through constant shellings of Ukrainian positions using all available weapons; continuing combat training of the militants; maintaining heavy weapons at the contact line”, stated Vilyen Pidgornyy, Ministry of Defense spokesperson at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
The militants continued strengthening their positions in the Lugansk sector – along the front line stretching from Stanytsia Luhanska to Zolote, as well as near Debaltseve and Avdiivka. It is estimated that seven to eight artillery batteries are kept on alert in the so-called “DPR” and five to six artillery squadrons – in the so-called “LPR”. This means that dozens of cannons and mortars remain in close proximity to the contact line, which is prohibited by the Minsk agreements.
The enemy repeatedly changed intensity of combat activity in the sector over the week. Most cases of enemy cease-fire violations accounted for the Popasna area and Krymske. The week started with mid-intensity hostilities – on March 6 and 7, the enemy delivered dense mortar fire in the areas mentioned above. In addition, Krymske was repeatedly shelled by the enemy howitzers. On March 8, the intensity of mortar attacks dropped significantly. On March 9, invaders conducted a massive mortar attack at Krymske, having fired 50 mortar bombs over an hour. On March 10, the situation in the sector became very tense. That day, the enemy troops opened fire against Krymske using the whole range of weapons, including multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) “Grad”. The militants used more than 320 bombs and shells of various caliber, including 120 missiles.
“According to the military intelligence, on March 10, 7 militants tripped over a booby-trap mine, while clearing passage through the mine field for subversive groups in Popasna area. As a result of the incident, 4 militants were killed; three more received injuries”, Mr. Pidgornyy added. Daily combat activity of the enemy in the sector ranged from a minimum of 10 cease-fire violations (March 11) to a maximum of 21 (March 6).
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the situation in the sector was quite tense. Militants continuously opened mortar fire along the whole front line from Svitlodarsk area to Nevelske. Militants shelled Zaitseve with 122 mm artillery on March 7 and 8. On March 10 and 11, the enemy used tanks and infantry fighting vehicles near Avdiivka and its adjacent position to the south and east. On Sunday, the enemy opened fire with MLR systems and launched 10 missiles against Ukrainian positions in Avdiivka industrial area. Militants regularly used IFVs in Svitlodarsk area, Zaitseve and Pisky over the previous week. The daily number of cease-fire violations by the enemy ranged between 23 (March 11) and 37 (March 6).
Last week, positions of Ukrainian servicemen in the sector were subject to most severe fire on the part of the enemy. On March 6, militants shelled Vodyane with 122 mm artillery. On March 7, the enemy used howitzers against Talakivka, Shyrokyne, Vodyane and Taramchuk. Throughout the week, a large portion of cease-fire violations took place on Pavlopil – Shyrokyne stretch of the front line, but on March 11 the enemy shifted its combat activity to northern part of the sector and opened mid-intensity mortar fire against Ukrainian defense positions between Krasnohorivka and Mykolayivka. “The same day, March 11, Ukrainian Armed Forces engaged in a gunfight against militants’ forces. Around 2 PM the enemy subversive group consisting of four militants advanced to the Ukrainian positions in Berezove, west of occupied Dokuchaevsk. Ukrainian servicemen noticed the movement and opened fire. The enemy retreated after an armed clash that lasted about 30 min”, MoD spokesperson stated. The daily number of cease-fire violations in the sector ranged between 33 (on March 8) and 64 (on March 6).
Over the week, Ukrainian troops registered 19 episodes of hostile drones conducting aerial reconnaissance in the ATO area. Majority of them were noticed in the Bakhmut road area, at Svitlodarsk and near Avdiivka.
Ukraine’s military intelligence reports of the ongoing military assistance of Moscow to its proxies. “We are talking about four cargo trains hauling 1,100 tons of fuel and military hardware for the militants of the so-called “DPR” and “LPR” that arrived through non-controlled by Ukrainian government section of the Russian-Ukrainian border last week”, Vilyen Pidgornyy said.
Last week, 5 Ukrainian servicemen were killed in action, and 41 servicemen were wounded in action. This includes 3 military servicemen who incurred injuries as a result of booby-trap explosions. 3 civilians, of which 2 men and a woman, were injured as a result of enemy shellings in Zaitseve and Avdiivka, Donetsk sector.
Damage to civilian infrastructure
According to Mr. Pidgornyy, fifty-one residential buildings located in close proximity to the contact line in Zaitseve, Pivnichne, Avdiivka, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka, Berezove and Mykolayivka were damaged as a result of militant attacks last week. In Zolote, militants fired several shells at one more non-residential building. In Mayorske which is to the north of occupied Horlivka, a railway track was damaged for the same reason. In Avdiivka, power lines were damaged twice during the week. Currently, the town is left without electricity. Ukrainian engineers cannot conduct repair works due to constant threat of enemy shellings.