Politically negotiated ceasefire over the last week mostly stood, yet Ukraine lost its servicemen. More evidence of Russia’s involvement confirmed by a recently detained on Ukrainian territory former Russian police officer.
Over the last week, the ceasefire, which started on September 1 as a result of political negotiations initiated by the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, was largely holding. However, Russian regulars and proxy forces repeatedly violated ceasefire in all major sector of the conflict zone, namely Luhansk, Donetsk and Mariupol sectors, stated Vilyen Pidgornyy, Ukrainian Ministry of Defense spokesperson on the Russia-Ukraine military conflict. “Russia-backed militants violate ceasefire most frequently in the Mariupol sector. This is the only sector where the militants opened fire from heavy weapons, namely 82 and 120 mm mortars, 122 mm artillery”, he added.
According to Vilyen Pidgornyy, areas where the vast majority of ceasefire violations also occurred include: Popasna in the Luhansk region, Avdiivka together with its industrial zone, Maryinka and Shyrokyne in the Donetsk region. These are the areas where Ukrainian troops had suffered some of the casualties. Total number of casualties constitutes five service members have fallen and eight were wounded in action. “We can observe a certain increase of ceasefire violations over the week. On Monday, September 5, we observed 20 ceasefire violations by Russia-backed militants, while on Sunday, September 11, the total number reached 36,” explained Ministry of Defence spokesperson on the Russia-Ukraine military conflict.
New Russian trace in the conflict
On September 9, an important event happened on the frontline that adds up to overwhelming evidence of Russia’s direct military involvement in the conflict. “Ukrainian troops detained a Russian citizen and former police captain Denis Sidorov who fought in eastern Ukraine. Denis Sidorov was a member of the reconnaissance company in the so-called “3rd Brigade” of Russian proxy forces stationed in Horlivka. According to Ukraine’s military intelligence, he is a veteran of Chechen wars and a Neo-Nazi sympathizer. Sidorov’s tattoos seem to confirm that he might be sharing the far-right convictions,” reported Mr Pidgornyy. According to Sidorov, the entire chain of command of the so-called “3rd Brigade” is controlled by Russian regulars. Sidorov told that a new Russian officer, Colonel Alexei Berdnikov, call sign Brest, was appointed as commander in August. According to Ukraine’s military intelligence, Mr Berdnikov was a commander of the 60th Motorized Brigade, which is located in Primorsky Krai, Russia’s Far East. Previously, Ukraine’s military intelligence reported about deployment of the air defense division equipped with Tor-M2U anti-aircraft systems (NATO classification name: SA-15 “Gauntlet”). “This state-of-art military hardware has been recently introduced to the Russian Armed Forces and has never been exported to Ukraine,” Vilyen Pidgornyy added.
Today’s briefing is a start of a series of weekly press briefings that will cover the Russia-Ukraine military conflict in eastern Ukraine and Crimea that has been going on for the last two and a half years. The briefings will traditionally start at 16:00 Mondays but may be moved to the same time slot on any other day if Monday is a national holiday.