Ukrainian military engaged in an intense battle with Russian proxy forces in the Donetsk sector – Defense Ministry

The number of hostilities was stable all days of the week except for a tough engagement in the Donetsk sector.


Donetsk sector
On December 18, the Ukrainian Armed Forces engaged in a battle with Russia-backed militant forces near Luhanske village in the Donetsk sector. As a result of the military action, five Ukrainian servicemen were killed in action, six were wounded in action and 10 more suffered concussion and other traumas, stated Vilyen Pidgornyy, Ministry of Defense spokesperson at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

“The enemy grossly violated ceasefire, opening fire from the heavy artillery to seize two Ukrainian positions in a bid to undermine the line of defense in the Bakhmut district. The militants started firing from their positions in the residential districts and then went on the offensive. After the enemy’s retreat, Russian proxies attempted another attack in two hours,” explained Mr Pidgornyy.  The third attack started after 5 p.m. and was most powerful. “The enemy fired dozens of artillery rounds and around 700 mortar mines. Ukrainian Armed Forces contained the militant’s advance and defended their positions, repelling all the attacks and inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy,” he added.

The casualties of Russia proxies are estimated to approach 50 killed and wounded militants.

Primarily ceasefire was violated in the area of Avdiivka, Luhanske village and Horlivka perimeter.

According to Mr Vilyen Pidgornyy, throughout the week level of hostile attacks remained was almost the same, except for the peak in the Luhanske area yesterday.


Luhansk and Mariupol sectors

“Last week Ukrainian positions came under hostile fire from heavy artillery. The enemy repeatedly used 152 mm self-propelled artillery systems, namely Akatsiya and conventional howitzers such as Giatsynt,” he pointed out. Most of artillery shelling is registered in Popasna district, Luhansk sector, and in the Mariupol sector.  Hostile shelling from 82 and 120 mm mortars, 122 mm and 152 mm artillery as well as tank fire were registered in the Mariupol sector. “Most intense action stretched from Hnutove village all the way to Shyrokyne on the Azov Sea coastline,” added Mr Pidgornyy.

In the Luhansk sector, the militants focused their fire on Popasna district and the town of Krymske, violating the Framework Decision related to disengagement of forces and hardware. The militants frequently open fire from small arms to launch harassing fire near Stanytsia Luhanska.

Over the week Ukraine lost its five servicemen in action and 23 servicemen were wounded and injured in action.


Intelligence report on adversary’s armament
Ukraine’s intelligence also reported that the Russian proxy forces test sophisticated military hardware and ammunition, including 152 mm Msta-B artillery system with new laser guiding systems installed. The artillery was equipped with Krasnopol guided artillery rounds.