Kyiv, February 23, 2016. The situation in the ATO zone remains under control, though difficult. Militants’ leading elements are strengthened with returning weapons and military equipment previously withdrawn, as well as their demonstrative operation near the frontline, said ATO Staff spokesman Major Serhiy Zhmurko via Skype at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
According to the spokesman, the night in the ATO zone was turbulent. Russia-backed militants intensified attacks at Ukrainian positions. Militants shelled Ukrainian troops’ strongholds 55 times since the beginning of the day. “Russian militants shot at our strongholds in Opytne, Pisky, Zaitseve, Troitske and Novhorodske using small arms, large machine guns and grenade launchers,” said Major Zhmurko. Militants used automatic grenade launchers to shell Ukrainian troops at Butovka coal mine and Zenit position. “Russian mercenaries attacked positions near Krasnohorivka and Vodiane in the Mariupol sector using 82-mm mortar launcher,” informed the spokesman.
A sniper’s attack at Ukrainian stronghold in the vicinity of Maryinka was registered at midnight.
Russia-backed militant groups shelled ATO troops’ positions near Avdiivka and Novhorodske using small arms, said Major Zhmurko.
In total, Russia-backed militant groups violated the ceasefire 205 times on February 19-22.
Militants’ attacks were especially intense in the vicinity of Krasnohorivka, Pisky and Opytne using small arms. A Ukrainian Armed Forces’ stronghold in the vicinity of Troitske was shelled from an anti-aircraft mount, and a large machine gun was used to shoot at Ukrainian troops’ positions near Troitske. “Occupants shelled Ukrainian forces’ positions near Krasnohorivka from an 82-mm mortar launcher 49 times, and four attacks happened in the vicinity of Hnutove,” elaborated the spokesman.
32 attacks were recorded in the Donetsk sector and 24 in the Mariupol sector on February 20. “Russian mercenaries shot from 82-mm mortar launcher, anti-aircraft mount and armored personnel vehicle at our strongholds near Talakivka, Krasnohorivka and Hnutove,” informed Major Zhmurko. Grenade launchers and small arms were used in the vicinity of Maryinka. Snipers were active during the day. “Russian occupants shelled the positions near Mayorsk three times using 120-mm mortar launcher,” said the spokesman. Moreover, Ukrainian positions in Vodiane, Opytne, Pisky, Avdiivka and Zaitseve were shelled from grenade launchers of various systems. A flight of an unmanned aerial vehicle was observed near Shyrokyne.
The situation was the most difficult in the Donetsk sector on February 21, where Russia-backed militants used 82-mm mortar launchers near Kransnohorivka. Moreover, snipers were active in the area,” said Major Zhmurko. Militants shelled Ukrainian positions in the vicinity of Donetsk airport from small arms, large machine guns and grenade launchers of various systems. Militants were shooting from automatic grenade launchers at Butovka coal mine for an hour. Russian mercenaries attacked Ukrainian strongholds near Avdiivka, Opytne, Pisky, Luhanske, Novhorodske, Zaitseve, Troitske, Mariinnka and Vodiane using grenade launchers of various systems, large machine guns and small arms, added the spokesman.