Kyiv, February 10, 2016. A civil Volkswagen minibus tripped an explosive device today at 7:56 a.m., 600 meters from Maryinka checkpoint from the side of the temporarily occupied territories. “The bus was standing in a line of vehicles proceeding from militants-controlled territories. The driver crossed on the roadside, neglecting the signs warning of mine threat. There were five passengers in the car. Three of them died at the scene as a result of the blast and one person died on the way to hospital,” elaborated Colonel Andriy Lysenko, spokesman of Presidential Administration on ATO-related issues at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. He said that military engineers, officers of Donetsk regional prosecutor’s office and members of OSCE Special Monitoring Mission are working at the site of the tragedy at present. “We appeal to mass media to remain vigilant, as this incident may be used for the purposes of Russian propaganda,” emphasized the spokesman. Col. Lysenko expressed sympathy with the families of 17 Kramatorsk residents who died one year before, February 10, 2015, when militants shelled the town from Smerch rocket launchers.
Ukrainian Armed Forces incurred to casualties in combat yesterday. In the Luhansk sector militants attacked ATO troops’ positions near Stanytsia Luhanska with mortar fire. Low intensity combat activity continues in the Donetsk and Mariupolsectors, sporadically using 82-mm mortar launchers and armored personnel vehicles. “Militants were the most active in the segment between Zaitseve and Maiorsk in the Donetsk sector. Russia-backed militant groups attack from several directions simultaneously, shooting from south part of Zaitseve, coal mine 6-7 settlement etc,” said the spokesman. Militants used 82-mm mortar launchers twice in this sector. Moreover, Russia-backed militant groups continue shooting at the Svitlodarsk bulge and in the vicinity of Donetsk airport. “The armistice at the frontline holds only several hours in the morning. Militants open disturbing fire at our positions all the rest of the time,” said Col. Lysenko.
In the Mariupol sector the most intense shelling took place in Mariinka. “Hostile snipers attacked at least four times. Moreover, militants provocatively shot from automatic grenade launcher at Mariinka checkpoint from the direction of Oleksandrivka village. The shells were falling in the immediate vicinity of the checkpoint with lots of civilians present there. Fortunately, no one was hurt,” informed Col. Lysenko. He said that militants widely use machine guns and grenade launchers of various systems, and ATO forces respond with fire. “Russia-backed militants started shelling Ukrainian positions after sunset, and stopped only in five hours. Militant groups used 82-mm mortar launchers four times in this sector,” informed the spokesman.
According to Ukrainian intelligence, authorities of self-proclaimed ‘Luhansk people’s republic’ are opening military training departments in higher educational institutions on the temporarily occupied territories of Luhansk region. “Russian officers are supervising this process. They will hold classes on general military training,” said Col. Lysenko. He added that the students trained there will be most likely encouraged to join the ranks of Russia-backed militant groups. “Moreover, militants keep watch at checkpoints 2-3 days instead of one due to shortened staffing level,” said the spokesman.
Law enforcements in Kostiantynivka detained a militant of so-called ‘Voisko Donskoe’, a militant group of self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk people’s republic’. “Recurrent frictions started between different militants groups, following which the militant’s unit was discontinues and he himself fled to the territory controlled by Ukraine,” said Col. Lysenko.
Law enforcements found three weapon caches. Three RPG-18 and RPG-22 grenade launchers with two missiles for RPG-7 were found in the first two caches in the vicinity of Novotroitskeand Dokuchaevsk in Donetsk region. “It was found that one missile was made in Russia in 2008,” said Col. Lysenko. The third cache was found in Novomykhailivka village in Donetsk region. “Law enforcement officers seized three RPG-22 grenade launchers, eight shells for RPG-7 grenade launcher, anti-personnel and anti-tank mines and ammunition,” informed the spokesman.