ATO Staff: Russia-backed militant groups shot at Ukrainian positions 62 times yesterday, using prohibited 82-mm mortar launchers twice


Kyiv, January 15, 2016. Pro-Russian militant groups shelled Ukrainian defenders’ positions 62 times in the past 24 hours, informed Major Anton Myronovych, ATO spokesperson, via Skype at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. The armistice held in the Luhansk region. Nevertheless, a reconnaissance sabotage militant group instigated another armed provocation in the vicinity of Vodyane settlement located in so-called ‘grey zone’ near Mariupol. “A small militant group left temporarily occupied Kominternove, shooting from small arms at residential houses in Vodyane. Afterwards they attacked positions of an ATO troop drawing duty in this sector. Our troops were made to respond with authorized fire from small arms, making the assailants retreat,” said Major Myronovych.

That day militants used only small arms, grenade launchers and large machine guns. “Nevertheless, militant shot at -our strongholds near Novhorodske twice, using 82-mm mortar launchers. The shelling lasted till the end of the day. The situation became more difficult near Mariinka at night,” said the spokesman.

According to Major Myronovych, attacks with fire continued today in this section of the contact line. Militants shot about 10 times at Ukrainian positions as of the moment.

The situation in the ATO zone on January 12 was comparatively calm. Militants shot at Ukrainian positions only 24 times, using no heavy armor. “Apart from the Donetsk and Horlivka sectors, Russia-backed militants conducted two attacks in the Luhansk sector using automatic mounted grenade launchers near Krymske and Triokhizbenka, said Major Myronovych.

The biggest number of ceasefire violations by pro-Russian militants this year, 70 episodes, was registered the following day, on January 13, all of them in the Donetsk and Artemivsk sectors. “Apart from small arms and grenade launchers, Russia-backed militants shot at our positions near Opytne and Zaitseve from 82-mm mortar launchers. Moreover, a minor firefight took place near Luhanske, where our troops efficiently defeated the attack,” said the spokesman.

In total, militants used weapons against ATO forces almost 160 times in the past three days. Militant snipers’ activity is registered in different sectors from time to time. Major Myronovych also said that the group opposing Ukrainian troops in Donbas numbers around 40 thousand people at present, over 7 thousand people being active components units of the Russian Federation.