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Published in Stream:
Ukraine Live Day 674
Press by
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukraine Reports Further Grad Attacks As Russian-Backed Forces Move Forwards On Azov Coast
4 years
Donetsk Governor Says Russian-Backed Forces Have Entered 2 Other Villages Along Coast

The Ukrainian military reports further use of Grad rockets by Russian-backed fighters today.

According to the ATO Press Centre, Grads were fired towards Ukrainian positions near Troitskoye and Boguslavskoye, both on the western fringes of the Lugansk region. The report says it is likely that Grad-P single-tube, portable launchers were used.

The report claimed that, as of 9:00 today, Russian-backed fighters had conducted seven attacks since midnight, with three occurring between 7:00 and 9:00. An earlier report said that there had been more than 20 ceasefire violations by Russian-backed forces between 18:00 yesterday and midnight.

Yesterday evening saw attacks across the front line. In the Gorlovka area, Ukrainian positions near Luganskoye, Mayorsk, Zaytsevo, Lozovoye and Novgorodskoye were attacked with small arms, grenade launchers and heavy machine guns.

Fighting continued on the outskirts of Donetsk with attacks on Krasnogorovka, Avdeyevka and Peski.

In the south of the Donetsk region, the ATO Press Centre reported that Russian-backed fighters had fired on the western outskirts of Shirokino - where Ukrainian marines are deployed - with small arms. 

In the Lugansk region, automatic grenade launchers were used to attack Ukrainian troops near Krymskoye, on the southern banks of the Seversky Donetsk river. 

This morning, the Ukrainian military reported small arms fire near Mayorsk and anti-tank missile attacks on Ukrainian positions near Granitnoye, east of Volnovakha.

The self-declared Donetsk People's Republic (DNR) claims, meanwhile, that Ukrainian forces violated the ceasefire four times within the last 24 hours, shelling the outskirts of both Donetsk and Gorlovka.

Colonel Andriy Lysenko, military spokesman for the Presidential Administration, told reporters at noon that two Ukrainian soldiers and one civilian had been wounded over the last 24 hours. 

Lysenko also reported a skirmish in Talakovka, a village just outside Mariupol:

This is particularly noteworthy given reports from both local media and the Ukrainian military that Russian-backed fighters entered the village of Kominternovo, around 10 kilometres east of Mariupol, yesterday morning.

151223-mariupol-map.png

The OSCE today confirmed to Interfax-Ukraine that their observers had been unable to reach Kominternovo as the road to the village was blocked with mines, tripwires and other explosive devices.

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine received a telephone call yesterday from a Kominternovo resident, who said that armed men in camouflage uniforms, without identifying insignia, had entered the village.

This is, itself, worrying, as separatist paramilitary fighters loyal to the DNR often wear insignia, while Russian regular troops deployed in Ukraine tend to be unmarked.

The DNR has denied sending fighters into the village.

Andriy Biletsky, MP and commander of the Azov Regiment, told channel 24 last night that 12-15 armoured vehicles, along with artillery units, had entered Kominternovo. 

Biletsky said that the Russian or separatist fighters had brought construction equipment and were now setting up concrete defensive positions and placing mines. 

The occupation of the village, he said, appeared to be a long-term prospect.

Biletsky told 24 that, while he could not say "100%" that there will now be an offensive on the Azov coast, the enemy fighters were now in a significantly better position to launch such an offensive than they were before the seizure of the village.

-- Pierre Vaux