Kyiv, August 18, 2014 – Terrorists opened fire using a “Grad” system at a transport column of Luhansk civilians. “The terrorists committed a bloody crime at 9:40 this morning. Near Luhansk, on the road between Khryashchuvate and Novosvitlivka, the mercenaries used “Grad” systems and mine-launchers imported from Russia to shoot at a column of civilians attempting to leave the combat zone. Many people died, including women and children. The number of casualties is currently being determined,” stated NSDC Information Center spokesman colonel Andriy Lysenko during a briefing at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
Active combat to free Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as battles near Zhdanivka, Makiyivka, Khartsyzsk, Debaltsevo, Starobesheve, continue. Ukrainian Armed Forces are working to neutralize the mercenaries in Yasynuvate. Horlivka, Mala Ivanivka, Andrianivka and Alchevsk are completely blocked. The Russian mercenaries are fleeing these cities. “ATO bases near Novokaterynivka were fired at tonight using 9P 140 “Uragan” setups. This is the first time weapons of such power were used,” added Andriy Lysenko.
Colonel Andriy Lysenko showed a video with more proof of Russian aggression at the briefing. “This footage was taken near the town of Snizhne. It shows servicemen standing around armored equipment units. One of the machines is a modified Russian BTR 80A. The machine has a distinctive feature – the 2A72 canon produced in Tula, which only the Russian army has at its disposal. The terrorists keep repeating “this is war,” “Allah Akbar” and “Insh’Allah.” One of the videos also clearly shows a ZAZ Daewoo vehicle with a Luhansk license plate – BB 3624 CO,” noted colonel Andriy Lysenko.
Border servicemen have also documented airspace violations at the border. As such, at 10 p.m. yesterday, the Naval Security Service near Mariupol detected and shot down one Russian unmanned aircraft. Another battalion tactical group from Yekaterinburg arrived at the Ukrainian state border from Russia. Vehicles carrying a big number of containers for BUK missile-launch complexes have been seen at the border on the Russian side. Approximately 30 “Grad” systems were detected near the locality of Gukovo in Rostov oblast across from Sverdlovsk and Chervonopartyzansk in Luhansk oblast. “A Polish journalist managed to document the movement of Russian equipment towards the Ukrainian border,” added the NSDC spokesman.
As of 11 a.m., in light of the fact that the issue of security guarantees for the humanitarian cargo on part of the terrorists organizations for Red Cross representatives remains unsolved, the cargo did not undergo border documentation procedures. Detailed inspection of the contents of the Russian humanitarian convoy has not begun. OSCE experts plan to examine the cargo on August 18 or 19. “Yesterday the border servicemen prevented an attempt to import part of the cargo to Ukrainian territory. 16 white tent KAMAZ vehicles, 1 fuel vehicle and 1 bus from the so-called humanitarian convoy arrived at the “Donetsk” border checkpoint on Russian territory at 12:15. They were parked at the lot near the checkpoint. Russian border servicemen watched as a group of mercenaries on 8 cars and 3 buses approached the Ukrainian representatives from the Ukrainian side. The Ukrainian border servicemen took up defense positions. After talking with the Russian border workers, the terrorists retreated back inside Ukrainian territory,” explained colonel Lysenko.
OSCE representative Paul Picard stated that the organization may possibly inspect 30 vehicles from the Russian humanitarian convoy on August 18-19. After the inspection, the cargo will be handed over to be escorted by Red Cross representatives.
US Senators from both parties showed solidarity in their support for Kyiv in its fight against the terrorists. Senators John McCain and John Donnelly addressed US President Barack Obama with a petition to provide Ukraine with defense weaponry, in particular anti-tank weapons, and increase exchange of intelligence information.