Militants open fire from weaponry banned by Minsk accords – Defense Ministry  

Weekly analysis of hostilities in the East Ukraine during the claimed by the militants ceasefire demonstrates discrepancy in words and actions of the aggressor.

Last week, the number of ceasefire violations committed by Russia-backed militants was fluctuating between 18 on September 18 and 56 on September 14 . On September 17, the complete ceasefire was observed in the Luhansk region. “The rest of the conflict zone was marked by ceasefire violations. Russian proxies largely used small arms and mortars, while they opened fire from armored vehicles, battle tanks and heavy weaponry banned by Minsk accords”, said Vilyen Pidgornyy, Ministry of Defense Spokesperson on the Russia-Ukraine Military Conflict at a press-briefing at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

According to Mr Pidgornyy, Russia-backed militants violated ceasefire most frequently in the Donetsk sector. This was the only area where Ukrainian troops came under enemy fire from heavy artillery in the whole week. “On September 14, the militants fired 666 rounds from heavy weapons – both mortars and artillery – at Ukrainian positions by Avdiivka in violation of the Minsk agreements. More shelling was registered in the area Pisky village and Zaitseve, which is close to Horlivka,” explained Vilyen Pidgornyy. Furthermore, militants frequently used infantry fighting vehicles and mortars firing over one hundred shells in Mariupol sector.

The Spokesperson noted that the vast majority of ceasefire violations took place in the following areas: the neighboring villages of Novozvanivka and Novooleksandrivka in Luhansk sector; the greater area of the Donetsk airport, including Avdiivka and Pisky together with the village of Luhanske, and the perimeter of Horlivka in the Donetsk sector; Maryinka and Shyrokyne in the Mariupol sector.vil

Mr Pidgornyy stated that five Ukrainian servicemen were killed and 29 wounded last week. This includes one killed and seven wounded by booby traps and improvised explosive devices. “It also includes casualties of the tragic incident near Artem village, Luhansk region, on September 12. Two soldiers were killed and five wounded as a result of a gunfire. One Ukrainian soldier went missing but was found alive shortly afterward. Currently, there is an investigation on the nature of the incident”, Mr Pidgornyy added.

Yesterday, two Ukrainian citizens – Volodymyr Zhemchugov and Yuriy Suprun – finally returned from the war zone where they were held captives by the militants.

“Mr Zhemchugov suffered severe wounds due to mine explosion and lost two limbs and spent over 11 months in captivity, yet he refused to give up and came home, as a hero the country is proud of,” elaborated the MoD spokesman. He followed saying that another former hostage was Yuriy Suprun, employee of the United Nations office in Ukraine. “The fact that Russia-backed militants abducted the UN employee confirms, once again, their brazen violation of the international law,” Mr Pidgornyy emphasized.