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Ministry of Defense: Russia-backed militants shell residential area of Zaitseve with Grad MLRS

Ministry of Defense: Russia-backed militants shell residential area of Zaitseve with Grad MLRS
Kyiv, December 20, 2017.

In Luhansk sector, Russia-backed militants shelled the residential areas of Zaitseve with BM-21 Grad MLRS deployed in temporarily occupied Horlivka. “Militants fired twenty rockets at civilians in Zaitseve,” reported Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, Ukrainian Ministry of Defense spokesman on ATO, at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

Russia-backed militants delivered nine more attacks in the sector. “The tensest situation was observed in Troitske area where the enemy twice attacked Ukrainian strongholds with 120-mm mortars. The fire came from two directions at a time. […] In Novotoshkivske, Travneve, Novooleksandrivka, Novoluhanske, and Troitske areas militants fired sixty-four 120-mm and fifty-two 82-mm mortar rounds,” Colonel Motuzyanyk said. The attacks near Zaitseve, Luhanske, Novooleksandrivka, Novotoshkivske, and Stanytsia Luhanska involved small arms and IFV mounted weapons. Ukrainian troops returned fire in four cases using small arms and IFV mounted weapons.

Donetsk sector faced a drastic increase in the number of ceasefire violations:  Russia-backed militants violated the ceasefire 22 times. “Outside Pavlopil they twice attacked Ukrainian positions with 120-mm mortars having fired ten rounds. Militants mortared Ukrainian positions in Kamianka, Novotroitske, Pisky, Shakhta Butivka, and Lebedynske areas having fired a total of forty-one 82-mm rounds. Moreover, Russian proxies used small arms and light weapons outside Avdiivka, near Verkhniotoretske, Vodiane, Hnutove, Kamianka, Novotroitske, Pavlopil, Starohnativka, and Shakhta Butovka. Ukrainian troops returned fire responding to almost all the attacks.

In total, Russia-backed militants committed 32 violations yesterday. Ukrainian troops returned fire 23 times.

Unfortunately, two Ukrainian servicemen were killed in action over the last day, six more were wounded in action. One serviceman was killed in an attack outside Novotoshkivske, another one – by an explosive device that detonated near Verkhniotoretske. Two more servicemen accompanying him were wounded by the blast, one is in critical condition. Four more servicemen were wounded as a result of hostile attacks.

According to Colonel Motuzyanyk, social infrastructure is being restored in Novoluhanske that came under the hostile MLRS attack yesterday. Power and gas line repair workers, as well as sappers, keep working on the spot. Warming centers set up for civilians continue their operation.

Report on the military developments as of December 19 is available here. Interactive data on the shelling: chronology shelling chart and the interactive map.

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