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Published in Stream:
Ukraine Live Day 689
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
As Ukraine Celebrates Christmas, Fighting Dramatically Escalates
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The Ukrainian military claimed this morning that Russian-backed fighters conducted 51 attacks last night, marking a dramatic escalation in fighting as Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas today.

According to the ATO Press Centre report, fighting was seen near Donetsk, Gorlovka and Granitnoye, in the south.

To the west of Donetsk, Russian-backed fighters reportedly conducted targeted attacks with automatic grenade launchers on the Marinka suburb. To the north of the separatist-held city, Ukrainian troops near Peski, Opytnoye and Avdeyevka were attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms. To the northwest there were grenade launcher and small arms attacks outside Verkhnetoretskoye.


In the Gorlovka area, the Ukrainian military reports heavy machine gun, grenade launcher and small arms attacks near Mayorsk, Zaytsevo and Novgorodskoye.

Furthermore, after midnight, several 120 mm mortar rounds reportedly exploded near Ukrainian positions outside Zaytsevo.


In the south, Ukrainian positions near Granitnoye, east of Volnovakha, were twice attacked with grenade launchers and small arms.

This is the highest number of nightly (or daily) attacks reported by Ukraine since the beginning of the year.

Colonel Andriy Lysenko, military spokesman for the Presidential Administration, told reporters at noon today that one Ukrainian soldier had been wounded within the last 24 hours.

Meanwhile the 'defence ministry' of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic (DNR) claimed today that Ukrainian forces had shelled separatist-held villages on the Azov coast.

According to the report, "fighters from Ukrainian nationalist groups" in the western part of Shirokino shelled DNR positions near Sakhanka and Bezymyonnoye using 82 and 120 mm mortars.


Overall, the DNR says, Ukrainian forces fired more than 10 shells.

Today, there are unconfirmed reports on social media of further gunfire, possibly exercises conducted by Russian-backed fighters:

Translation: Facebook #Donetsk 12:40 "Banging again. Can hear salvoes and impacts right afterwards, kind of in the direction of Obyedinenny. Training or something."

Translation: VKontakte - Tekstilshchik intense gunfire, small arms. Are the orcs training?

-- Pierre Vaux