Kyiv, April 15, 2016. Over 100 militant attacks took place in the ATO zone first time in eight months. August 27, 2015 was the last time when such intensity was recorded. In the Mariupol sector militants attacked Ukrainian troops’ positions between Novotroitske and Dokuchaevsk. “The attack took place with intense protective fire from 120-mm and armored personnel vehicle (APC). Owing to precise coordination between two adjacent ATO strongholds, Ukrainian troops defeated the attacked, incurring no losses,” informed Colonel Andriy Lysenko, spokesman of Presidential Administration on ATO-related issues at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. As a result of the firefight, the militant group lost its guidance and the APC and retreated. “A presentation of awarding three servicemen (SPG-9 grenade launcher operating personnel) who distinguished themselves with this target round [at APC] is being prepared now,” added Col. Lysenko.
Apart from the abovementioned attack, militants were shooting from mortar launchers near Berezove and from 122-mm artillery near Bohdanivka in the Mariupol sector. Moreover, Russia-backed militant groups delivered a series of intense attacks in Mariinka. Shelling, including sniping fire, lasted over 10 hours non-stop. In total, militants shelled Ukrainian troops’ positions 24 times in 24 hours in the Mariupol sector.
74 attacks took place in the Donetsk sector yesterday, 17 involved use of heavy armor. “About 50 percent of all the attacks took place in Avdiivka where occupants are shooting 24/7,” informed the spokesman. The situation was restless at the Svitlodarsk bulge, in the vicinity of Horlivka, in particular, in Zaitseve and at Putylivska Coal Mine position (also known as Butovka-Donetska Coal Mine). Militants conducted six attacks in the Luhansk sector in 24 hours. For instance, Russia-backed militant groups used mortar launchers twice near Stanytsia Luhanska. They also shelled ATO troops’ positions in Krymske and Zolote.
One Ukrainian serviceman died in combat yesterday and three were wounded. “Moreover, a female civilian tripped a mine in Troitske and was taken to hospital,” informed Col. Lysenko. According to the Chief Intelligence Department of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine (CID MDU), militants incurred loss of four people dead and nine injured yesterday due to hostilities in the vicinity of Donetsk, Avdiivka and Zaitseve. “These were militants from three subdivisions of Russian occupational army: so-called “11th separate motorized rifle regiment”, “3rd separate motorized rifle brigade” and “100th separate motorized rifle brigade” of the 1st army corps of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic”, said the spokesman. Five more militants died and seven were wounded near Molodizhne in Luhansk region. According to the intelligence, they were members of so-called “6th separate motorized rifle regiment” of the 2nd army corps of the self-proclaimed “Luhansk People’s Republic”. Moreover, an argument took place three days ago between militants from these subdivisions while they were unloading ammunition, which resulted in admitting one of the officers to the hospital with a gunshot wound. Two militants tried to rob a local inhabitant in the occupied Stakhanove, but he managed to defend himself.
According to the intelligence, more military aid came from the territory of the Russian Federation for Russia-backed militant groups. “An echelon carrying about 80 tons of ammunition and over 120 tons of combustible and lubrication materials came to Khartsyzsk railway station. Echelon with combustible and lubrication materials arrived at Rovenky station,” informed the spokesman.
Col. Lysenko also informed that officers of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) found four XVII century paintings from the collection stolen in 2005 from the Netherlands museum. “It has been identified that the theft was organized by an international criminal group consisting of a Donbas descendent,” he said. Col. Lysenko informed that the SBU is not revealing all the details of the operation for reasons of national safety and assures that the search of the remaining paintings is in progress.
The spokesman said that another former militant, a Krasnoarmiysk resident, joined the SBU program “You are waited for at home!”. Starting in February 2015, for some time he was a member of a Russia-backed militant group based in Dokuchaevsk. Later, having made sense of the situation, he decided to surrender to law enforcements.