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Published in Stream:
Day 915: August 20, 2016
Press by
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
1 Ukrainian Soldier Dead, 4 Wounded; Ukrainian JCCC Documents Russian-Backed Militants Firing on Towns
4 years
When the War 'Wakes Up' in Shirokino: A Ukrainian Officer's Report from the Front
Oleksandr Motuzianyk, spokesman on ATO affairs for the presidential administration, reported that one Ukrainian soldier was killed and four wounded, and that 49 attacks had been made on Ukrainian positions today
According to an earlier report from Unian.net, the press center for the ATO [Anti-Terrorism Operation] said at 6:00 am that 27 instances of violations of the ceasefire had occurred, with Russian-backed militants firing heavy artillery at Krasny Pakhar and Zaytsevo.

Avdeyevka, Mayorsk, Zaytsevo and Luganskoye were fired on with grenade-launchers and large-caliber machine guns, and Peski and the Butovka coal mine were shelled with 82- and 120-mm artillery. Militants struck Svetlodarsk with 152-mm and 120-mm artillery, and BMPs were active near Luganskoye and Zaytsevo.

On the Mariupol line, 120- and 80-mm artillery were used on Maryinka, Vodyanoye and Shirokino as well as grenade-launchers and large-caliber machine guns. Armed provocations with the use of grenade launchers and firearms occurred in Gnutovoye and Novotroitskoye. Near Starognatovka and Shirokino, BMPs were used and 122-mm artillery were fired on Beryozovoye. A sniper appeared twice in Gnutovoye.

In Lugansk Region, militants fired on Zheltoye and Zolotoye with grenade-launchers, 82-mm mortar launchers were fired on Stanitsa Luganskaya, and firearms were used on Popasnaya.

o Maryinka Among 'Hottest' War Zones 

Today, Lt. Col. Vadim Bakay, press officer of the Ukrainian Joint Control and Coordination Committee wrote on the ATO's Facebook page that Maryinka was among the "hottest" of the war zones.

The town is fired on by the Russian-backed fighters nearly every day. The residential areas suffer significantly each time. Artillery of 82-mm, 122-mm and 152-mm caliber has been used, as recently as August 18. Incendiaries are fired that make the roofs of homes catch on fire. The JCCC documented all the addresses where damage occurred, and said fortunately there were no civilians wounded. 

o Militants Engage in 'Self-Shooting' to Pin Shelling on Ukrainian Army 

Lt. Col. Bakay also posted an article on the ATO's Facebook page today summarizing research of craters, shells and other evidence in the town of Kadiivka (formerly called Stakhanov before the de-communization) which is near the line of contact. They defend the Ukrainian Army against claims by the forces of the self-declared Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republic, that they are shelling civilian areas in this town.

The ATO notes that Russian-backed separatists claim that 700 shells a day are fired at the time. "What is this but a lack of a sense of reality?" they ask. If that many shells really were fired every day in this area, the town would have long ago been flattened. They say that claims are made of 152-mm artillery instead of 82-mm artillery, so that the known distances which the artillery are capable of shooting can be reconciled. They want to avoid admitting that they themselves are firing from certain areas in Lugansk Region, which the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission observers have confirmed. 

On August 18, the pro-Russian media said that the Ukrainian Army had fired on Kadiivka with 122-m artillery. In theory, shelling could come from Ukrainian-controlled Popasnaya, Troitskoye and Novozvanovka, those towns nearest to the line of contact. Yet the distance from each of these towns used in Ukrainian defense positions is at least 18 km, which significantly exceeds the distance the 122-mm artillery is capable of firing. 

The ATO believes that because there has been less fighting in Lugansk lately, and therefore the pro-Russian forces would find it harder to show the Ukrainian army firing on civilian areas, they had to find a location where they could make this point. This was hard to do in these more rural regions, unlike the area around Donetsk where there are many homes close together.

So they chose Kadiivka. But why not Pervomaysk or Kirovsk? Because those towns are much closer to the line of contact, and what the militants want to claim is that heavy artillery with greater distances are being used in violation of Minsk.  So the "self-shooting" which the militants organize to pin it on the Ukrainians is done from Kirovsk and Pervomaysk. The distance from those towns to Kadiivka is far enough that residents can't see where the firing is coming from, but can only hear and see the impacts.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick