ATO Staff spokesperson: Ceasefire holds but militants keep provoking Ukrainian troops


Kyiv, September 4, 2015. The situation in the ATO zone remained stable over the period of September 1-3. Russia-backed militant groups minimized attacks at Ukrainian positions. At the same time, insurgents made several attempts to provoke Ukrainian troops to active armed standoff in these three days, said Lieutenant Colonel Anatoly Stelmakh, the ATO Staff spokesperson, via Skype at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. He said that on September 1 and 2, the militants fired at Ukrainian positions in Maryinka, Sanzharivka, Krymske, Opytne, Shchastya, Novotoshkivske and south of Avdiivka.

According to Lt. Col. Stelmakh, on the same day a Ukrainian mobile group designated to counter smuggling across government- and militant-controlled areas, consisting of State Fiscal Service of Ukraine (SFS) and security service officers, as well as Ukrainian troops and volunteers, was ambushed near Lobacheve, a town between Slovyanoserbsk and Shchastya in Luhansk region. One volunteer and an SFS officer were killed in action and four servicemen were wounded. “Ukrainian military promptly arrived to the site of attack. As a result of successful defense actions, the enemy had to retreat beyond the Siversky Donetsk river,” he added.

The ceasefire held in the ATO area on September 3. “At the end of the day pro-Russian militants fired at our stronghold south of Avdiivka using small arms and grenade launchers. Ukrainian positions in Opytne were under 82 mm mortar attack,” said Lt. Col. Stelmakh.

According to the ATO Staff spokesperson, Ukrainian troops jointly with Volonterska Sotnia [The Volunteer Hundred] fund made use of a pause in fighting to give schoolchildren from Maryinka and Krasnohorivka writing equipment, school uniform and schoolbags. Moreover, Ukrainian officers gave a safety class on emergency evacuation in case of a shell attack and medical first aid.