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Published in Stream:
Ukraine Live Day 508
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
OSCE Says Their Drones Were Jammed Near Mariupol
7 years
Shelling Heard By Reporter In Donetsk
Russian Neo-Nazi Paramilitary Group, Rusich, To Withdraw - Freezing Of Conflict Or A Feint?
The latest OSCE report is dated last night, July 9, at 19:30 Kiev time. What we know is that a significant number of ceasefire violations took place last night, many of them after the time period in question. It is interesting, then, that the OSCE is reporting for the second day in a row that their drones were jammed over territory controlled by the Russian-backed fighters in Donetsk region:

The report begins with this summary:

Although significantly less than the previous day, the level of violence at and around the destroyed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”)-controlled airport (12km north-west of Donetsk) was high. Positioned at the “DPR”-controlled central railway station (8km north-west of Donetsk), the SMM between 7:50 and 13:00hrs heard the sounds of 103 incoming, 98 outgoing and nine indeterminate rounds. The rounds – either artillery or mortars – impacted in or were fired from locations 3-10km to the north-east, north, north-west and west of the SMM’s position. At the same location between 12:45 and 18:00hrs, the SMM heard an additional 121 incoming and outgoing artillery or mortar rounds, plus small arms and light weapons (SALW) and anti-aircraft fire.

The OSCE noted that the Russian-backed fighters were occupying new positions near Shirokino (Shyrokyne). The Russian-backed fighters withdrew from the town, but as we reported earlier, both military analysts and the statements of the separatist leadership indicate that the town is now effectively a trap for the Ukrainian military. New separatist positions underscore that point:

The SMM noted new “DPR” positions 400m east of the line of contact – 2.1km east of the centre of Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol) – and more than 1km east of the line further north. The SMM noted no “DPR” presence in Shyrokyne. Small-arms ammunition, anti-tank mines, rocket-propelled grenade warheads, anti-tank rockets and grenades were littered all across the village. No civilians were present. The SMM noted Ukrainian Armed Forces in the south-west of the village. In nearby government-controlled Sopyne, 4km to the west, a woman and a man told the SMM that the situation had been calm over the previous two days.

The OSCE also reports that east of Mariupol their drones were jammed:

SMM unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) also observed four MBTs in “DPR”-controlled Bezimene (30km east of Mariupol), plus 26 armoured personnel carriers and at least 34 military-type trucks. Additional monitoring through the use of SMM UAVs was deliberately foiled by persistent jamming of the UAVs in a large swathe of “DPR”-controlled territory north and north-east of Mariupol*.

The question remains -- where did the Russian-backed fighters get jamming equipment sophisticated enough to disrupt the OSCE's mission. The obvious possibility is Russia, which possesses sophisticated electronics-warfare equipment that can even pose a challenge to NATO.

The OSCE made other interesting observations, namely heavy fighting near Stanytsia Luganska, which appears to be an area of focus for the Russian-backed fighters:

In government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-west of Luhansk), a Ukrainian Armed Forces representative to the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) on 8 July told the SMM of a skirmish close to the bridge in the early hours of the morning. He said SALW, including heavy machine-guns; anti-aircraft guns and grenade launchers were used. He reported no casualties. The SMM observed fresh craters caused by grenade launchers and 82mm mortars close to the Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint at the northern end of the bridge. It observed one heavily-damaged house in the vicinity. The SMM also noted the presence of approximately 30 people – mostly women – waiting to cross the checkpoint. Some of them said they had been coming there daily for more than a week.

The following day in government-controlled Novoaidar (49km north-west of Luhansk), the SMM observed a military helicopter landing close to two waiting ambulances.  Personnel at a nearby Ukrainian Armed Forces checkpoint told the SMM that two Ukrainian soldiers had been seriously injured in fighting in Shchastya the previous night.

One detail in the report is puzzling, however -- yet again the OSCE SMM reports seeing T-72 main battle tanks in government-controlled territory. Up to this point there has never been any picture, video, or non-OSCE report of the government using T-72s in this conflict, and up to this point the Ukrainian T-72s have been kept in reserve near Lvov because the Ukrainian government does not have the spare parts for those tanks. Yet there have now been a handful of reports like this from the OSCE in the last month.

Read the entire OSCE SMM report here.

-- James Miller