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Published in Stream:
Ukraine Live Day 526
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
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The OSCE has announced that a patrol from their Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) came under fire yesterday morning in the village of Shirokino (Shyrokyne), east of Mariupol. According to the report, the SMM patrol leader was injured after an explosion occurred 5 metres from their position.

Here is the OSCE spot report, published this morning:

At 11:15hrs on 27 July, an SMM patrol comprised of two vehicles entered Shyrokyne (100km south of Donetsk, 20km east of Mariupol) and found the village to be calm. The SMM established two separate observation points, some 120m apart.

At 11:25hrs, the SMM heard one shot of automatic grenade fire, outgoing from a north-easterly direction, impacting to the west of the SMM’s position on the western side of the village. Moments later, the SMM recorded a burst of small-arms fire outgoing from the north-west. After a period of silence, another burst of small-arms fire was heard outgoing from the north-west. The two separate firing instances seemed to be located some 300m away from the position of the SMM. At 11:45hrs, the SMM recorded small-arms fire which was assessed to be outgoing 200m from the south and directed to the south-west of Shyrokyne. At 12:05 and 12:32hrs, the SMM recorded two more separate series of small-arms fire outgoing from the north-east.

While the first section of the report describes an exchange of fire between Ukrainian and Russian-backed forces, the report then says that fighters (from which side is not said) much closer to the SMM position and that fire was heard from them just before the explosion. 

Right after this, the SMM heard in the air the sound of sniper rounds outgoing from the south, at which point the patrol leader instructed the patrol via radio to depart immediately. At the same time, the SMM saw three men behind a building 50m north of SMM’s position. A rifle shot was heard outgoing from there. Seconds later, an explosion occurred 5m from the SMM patrol leader, who was knocked down as a result. He was struck by concrete debris caused by the impact and his helmet was pierced.

If the fire did come from the three men 50 metres away, then they would certainly have been able to visually recognise the SMM vehicles and personnel as such. This would then be a targeted attack. The OSCE, however, described the incident as the SMM team being "caught in [a] fire exchange." 

The SMM left the area few minutes later and en route to Mariupol (government-controlled, 102km south of Donetsk) the paramedic in the team provided medical care to the injured SMM member. He was then taken to the hospital in Mariupol. He suffered a mild concussion and a bruise of the right leg. He has been released from hospital.

Only two days ago, the OSCE announced that one of their SMM patrols had come under fire near Schastye in the Lugansk region. 

Based on the range of the weapons reported to have been used in the attack, it appears likely that the SMM were fired-on by Russian-backed forces. No one was injured.

On July 23, OSCE vehicles were "disabled" during what Alexander Hug, deputy chief of the SMM, called "organised vandalism" in separatist-held Donetsk.

-- Pierre Vaux