ATO Staff spokesman: Militants shot at Ukrainian forces in Zaitseve and Maiorsk using prohibited 120-mm mortar launchers


Kyiv, February 2, 2016. Russian-backed militant groups continued shelling Ukrainian Armed Forces’ positions on February 1. Once again, the situation was the most difficult near Horlivka and on the outskirts of Donetsk, informed ATO Staff spokesman, Colonel Andriy Zadubinnyi, via Skype at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.  “Militants used grenade launchers of various systems and large machine guns to shoot at our strongholds in Opytne, Avdiivka, Mariinka and Butivka coal mine. Russia-backed militants also shot from mortar launchers in the vicinity of Pisky,” said the spokesman. Militants are shelling Ukrainian positions near Horlivka from grenade launchers, large machine guns, light arms and mortar launchers. “Our strongholds in Zaitseve and Maiorsk were shelled from 120-mm mortar launchers, prohibited by the Minsk Agreements, six times,” said Col. Zadubinnyi.

A firefight took place in the Mariupol sector near Pyshchevyk inhabited locality. “Our soldier responded with aimed fire and prevented militants’ subversive reconnaissance group from penetrating into Ukrainian territory,” added Col. Zadubinnyi. According to the ATO Staff, militants tend to shoot at checkpoints of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine. As informed earlier, on January 28 at 9:10 p.m. pro-Russian militants of self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ shot at Mariinka crossing point from armored personnel vehicles and grenade machine guns. On January 30, 2016 militants attacked Ukrainian checkpoint in the vicinity of Maiorsk crossing point with mortar fire. According to the recent intelligence, members of self-proclaimed DPR are preparing similar provocations in the Artemivsk sector. ATO spokesman explained that a possibility of temporarily closure of crossing points is considered, with the corresponding application to international organizations monitoring implementation of the Minsk Agreements.

On January 29 militants shot at Ukrainian strongholds from light arms and grenade launchers in Avdiivka, Pisky, Opytne and Butivka coal mine in the Donetsk sector, said Col. Zadubinnyi. “Militants shot at our strongholds near Zaitseve from 82-mm and 120-mm mortar launchers. The situation was tense near Maiorsk, where militants used grenade launchers of various systems. Insurgents opened mortar fire on our stronghold near Hnutove in the Mariupol sector,” he elaborated.

On January 30 pro-Russian militants shot at ATO troops’ strongholds 36 times, informed the spokesman.  Ukrainian strongholds in Opytne, Pisky, Troitske, Avdiivka, Luhanske and Pervomaiske in the Donetsk sector were attacked from grenade launchers and machine guns. “Militants shot at out stronghold in Zaitseve from 82-mm and 120-mm mortar launchers around 6:00 p.m. Moreover, Ukrainian positions in Maiorsk were attacked from 120-mm mortar launchers. In the Luhansk sector militants shot at our stronghold in Triokhizbenka from an automatic grenade launcher, and positions near Stanytsia Luhanska were attacked from 120-mm mortar launcher,” said Col. Zadubinnyi. In the Mariupol sector insurgents were shooting from grenade launchers and light arms at Ukrainian strongholds in Krasnohorivka and Novotroitske. Moreover, militants used an anti-aircraft mount to shoot at Ukrainian Armed Forces’ positions in Shyrokyne.

“On January 31 pro-Russian militant groups shot at our strongholds in the vicinity of Krasnohorivka and Zaitseve from light arms and 82-mm and 120-mm mortar launchers. Militants used mortar launchers and large machine guns near Maiorsk,” said Col. Zadubinnyi. Ukrainian troops’ positions in Novhorodske were attacked from APC and various grenade launchers. The situation on the outskirts of Donetsk remained tense. “Our strongholds in Avdiivka, Pisky, Opytne, Mariinka and Butove ccoal mine were attacked from grenade launchers of various systems and light arms,” said the spokesman. Militants shot at Ukrainian positions near Starohnativka in the Mariupol sector from mortar launchers.

In total, Russia-backed militant groups violated the ceasefire 183 times between January 29 and February 1.