Kyiv
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Russia-backed militants used MLRS five times last week – Defense Ministry

Russia-backed militants used MLRS five times last week – Defense Ministry
Kyiv, May 15, 2017.

Last week the enemy reduced the average daily number of shells fired at Ukrainian positions from 220 to 217.  Enemy sniper activity decreased as well – 9 cases last week compared to 14 the week before.

The situation on the frontline did not change much compared to the previous week. Russian proxies continued indirect fire attacks of Ukrainian positions and provocative cease-fire violations with small arms all across the contact line. “Ukrainian Armed Forces recorded 5 instances when the enemy used MLRS, whereas a week earlier the militants used rocket artillery only once. Svitlodarsk, Avdiivka and southern part of the Mariupol sector came under heavy enemy fire”, stated Vilyen Pidgornyy, Ministry of Defense spokesperson at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. Overall, the number of ceasefire violations ranged between 37 on Wednesday, May 10, and 70 the day earlier – Tuesday, May 9.

Last week, Russian occupation administration in Donbas organized Victory Day celebrations on May 9. “Russian proxies in violation of the Minsk agreements staged a military parade with heavy weapons in the cities closely located to the front line. Although it had been announced that the commanders of the so-called “regiments” and “brigades” would lead ceremonial formations, the Ukrainian military intelligence identified that the formations were led by deputy commanders. It was done in order to conceal the presence of Russian troops in Donbas, as the real commanders of the so-called “regiments” and “brigades” are Russian regulars”, Mr. Pidgornyy said.

Luhansk sector

The situation in the sector was rather intense throughout the week as Russia-backed militants continued to open artillery and mortar fire at the positions of Ukrainian troops. Stanytsia Luhanska, Krymske, the area of Popasna and Troitske regularly came under enemy fire both day and night. “On March 8th Russian proxies opened fire with 122 mm artillery at Novozvanivka during the night. Later in the morning, invaders launched a mortar barrage at Krymske, having discharged nearly 50 rounds. On May 13, Novozvanivka came under fire again. At 10 pm Russia-equipped militants opened a medium intensity mortar fire followed by 122 mm artillery”, MoD spokesperson stated.  The daily number of cease-fire violations by the enemy ranged between 6 (on May 10 and 12) and 13 (on May 9).

Donetsk sector

The situation in the sector over the week was the most tense compared to other sectors. Pro-Russian militants launched up to 10 mortar attacks per day along the whole front line. On May 13, Russia-backed militants fired Grad rockets at Novoluhanske. The number of rounds, discharged at positions of Ukrainian defenders exceeded 200.  Enemy sniper groups advanced to the front line and engaged Ukrainian servicemembers near Luhanske and Verkhniotoretske. That same day, Russia-backed militants committed another war crime against civilian population. At about 7 pm Russian proxies opened fire with 122 mm artillery at Avdiivka residential area. According to Mr. Pidgornyy, one of the shells hit a private house and killed 4 civilians – 3 females and a male – and severely wounded another male. As a result of the incident, 2 children became orphans. On May 14, the militants opened medium intensity fire at Zaitseve and Verkhniotoretske. They also opened tank fire in Avdiivka and adjacent areas. The daily number of cease-fire violations by the enemy ranged between 12 (on May 10) and 22 (May 9).

Mariupol sector

The enemy traditionally engaged Ukrainian Armed Forces in Maryinka and Volnovakha districts as well as at southern coastal defense lines. Pro-Russian proxies continued to open small and medium intensity mortar fire, occasionally using artillery rocket launchers. On May 8, the enemy used 122 mm artillery against Hnutove. On May 10, militants used portable rocket launcher Grap-Partizan at Shyrokyne four times.  On May 11 and 12 enemy snipers engaged Ukrainian servicemembers at Pavlopil – Shyrokyne area and Novotroitske. The daily number of cease-fire violations by the enemy ranged between 19 (on May 10) and 35 (on May 9).

The intensity of UAVs use by the militants remained almost the same – 16 episodes of hostile drones flights during last week compared to 17 a week earlier. The enemy continued conducting aerial reconnaissance mostly in the Donetsk sector.

Casualties

Last week, 4 Ukrainian servicemen were killed in action. Thirty-three soldiers were wounded in action. Additionally, on May 9, at the hospital in the city of Dnipro, one Ukrainian serviceman died from wounds received from enemy sniper fire on April 30 in the south of the Mariupol sector.

Militants` actions bring suffering to more and more residents of frontline areas. As it was previously mentioned, on May 13, four civilians were killed and one was critically wounded by enemy shelling of residential area in Avdiivka, Donetsk sector. In addition a local woman was wounded as a result of another enemy shelling in Chermalyk, Mariupol sector.

Damage to civilian infrastructure

Five private homes were damaged in the conflict area last week. All of them are located in frontline towns and villages – Novhorodske and Avdiivka, Donetsk sector, Maryinka and Chermalyk, in the Mariupol sector. Also, last week, militants shelled a non-residential building in Stanytsia Luhanska, Luhansk sector, and an agricultural enterprise in Novoluhanske, Donetsk sector.

Report on the military developments as of the previous week is available here, as of  May 15 is available here. Interactive data on the shelling: chronology shelling chart and the interactive map.

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