Defense Ministry: Ukrainian Armed Forces defeat two subversive reconnaissance groups near Vodiane, militants employ heavy artillery and MLRS


Three Ukrainian servicemen were killed in combat yesterday, and nine were wounded; most of the casualties were inflicted in the Mariupol sector, where a total of 28 enemy ceasefire violations were recorded.

Vodiane in the Mariupol sector was the main flashpoint of the conflict area yesterday, reported Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, Ministry of Defense of Ukraine spokesman on ATO-related issues, during a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. In the morning, two subversive reconnaissance groups of up to 20 militants each attacked Ukrainian positions. Ukrainian troops successfully defeated the attack. “To retaliate, occupants opened massive fire from mortars, cannons and ‘Grad’ multiple rocket launcher systems, firing over 50 mortar rounds, eighty 122 mm and 152 mm shells, and 65 ‘Grad’ missiles. Security cameras recorded one of the ‘Grad’ salvos directly hitting Vodiane,” elaborated Col. Motuzyanyk. Enemy losses in the firefight are assessed at 5-8 people killed and 13-16 wounded.

Militants used mortars, cannons and tanks in cease-fire violations in Talakivka, Lebedynske and Shyrokyne, and employed mortars in Marinka and Krasnohorivka.  The enemy conducted two sniper and two artillery attacks in Novotroitske, firing over 50 rounds at our positions, mostly between 20:00 and 21:00.

In the Donetsk sector militants performed 17 ceasefire violations, using heavy weapons seven times. Most attacks occurred near Luhanske and on Kamianka – Avdiivka – Butovka coal mine frontline sector. “Russia-backed militants were active in the afternoon, employed mortars, tanks, and other armor as well as snipers. In addition, the enemy twice violated the ceasefire in Novoluhanske,” elaborated Col.  Motuzyanyk. Horlivka and the Donetsk airport area were relatively peaceful.

Fifteen enemy ceasefire violations were recorded in the Luhansk sector, with over 70% of attacks taking place in the Popasna district. Russia-backed militants shelled Troitske with 10 mortar rounds. Moreover, the truce was violated in Stanytsia Luhanska, Triokhizbenka and Krymske.  “Enemy shelling damaged Slovianoserbsk – Triokhizbenka power line and cut off the power supply 1400 consumers in Triokhizbenka, Orikhovo-Donetske and Kalaus. Repair works are in progress,” said Col. Motuzyanyk.

According to Chief Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, militants of so-called “7th brigade” of Russian occupational troops set up engineer obstacles at the Svitlodarsk area using PMN-2 antipersonnel mines on March 16.  “This mine type is notoriously known as “Black Widow”, and is prohibited under the Ottawa convention. Ukraine signed and ratified this document, yet Russia has not,” said the spokesman.

Report on the military developments as of March 20 is available here. Interactive data on the shelling: chronology shelling chart and the interactive map.