Ministry of Defense: Russia-backed militants fire over 150 artillery and mortar rounds over the last day


Russia-backed militants delivered 15 precision attacks against Ukrainian troops in eastern Ukraine yesterday, using mortars and artillery as well.  “On December 20, militants fired a total of 150 artillery and mortar rounds,” reported Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, Ukrainian Ministry of Defense spokesman on ATO, at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. Ukrainian troops returned fire six times using weapons not proscribed under the Minsk agreements.

In Luhansk sector, Russia-backed militants attacked Ukrainian positions three times at night. “Militants fired twelve 120-mm mortar rounds against Ukrainian troops stationed in Novotoshkivske. Eighteen 82-mm rounds exploded near Ukrainian positions in Travneve area, 15 more – outside Hladosove,” elaborated Colonel Motuzyanyk. Ukrainian troops did not return fire.

In Donetsk sector, namely in Kamianka area, Russian proxies fired sixteen 122-mm artillery rounds and the same number of mortar rounds of various calibers and used small arms and light weapons. “Russia-backed militants attacked Ukrainian positions near Shakhta Butovka with mortars, grenade launchers, and machine guns having fired a total of 20 mortar rounds. Moreover, the enemy fired twenty more mortar rounds, mostly 120-mm ones, in Vodiane area,” ATO spokesperson said. Ukrainian positions near Avdiivka and Pisky came under hostile fire of 120-mm mortars, IFV mounted weapons and heavy machine guns. Ukrainian troops returned fire responding to the majority of the attacks.

Unfortunately, one Ukrainian serviceman was killed in action near Kamianka, and four more troops were wounded in Shakhta Butovka area.

Colonel Motuzyanyk quoted the Defense Minister of Ukraine, General of the Army of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak saying that the decision of the Russian Federation representatives to withdraw from the Joint Center on Control and Coordination (JCCC) was aimed at blaming Ukraine for the coming ceasefire violations as Russian proxies have considerably intensified the attacks after Russian officers left the JCCC. “President of Ukraine – Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Petro Poroshenko suggested reinforcing the Joint Center on Control and Coordination of the ceasefire regime in Donbas with representatives of Germany and France in order to provide objective information on the situation in the combat zone to the international community,” the ATO spokesperson said.

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