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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Day 867: July 3, 2016

Publication: Ukraine Liveblogs
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The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Battles All Along the Mariupol Highway; Kiva's Car Attacked by Unknown Gunman in Kherson Region

Although lighter than in recent days, fighting continued along the line of contact in the Donbass.

Andriy Lysenko, spokesman on ATO affairs for the presidential administration, gave a briefing today in Kiev regarding 31 incidents of shelling on Ukrainian positions by Russian-backed forces, of which 10 were from heavy artillery, Unian reported (translation by The Interpreter):

"On the Mariupol line, battles continued all along the front line. The bandit formation in this area used 82- and 120-mm artillery. In particular, artillery shelling occurred near Krasnogorovka, Maryinka, Talakovka, Starognatovka and Bereyozovoye. The enemy released 98 shells in total."

Militants fired from a BMP near Krasnogorovka and Maryinka, and near Vodyanoye, they released 3 artillery shells. Also used on these positions were grenade-launchers, large-caliber machine-guns and shotguns, and also near Shirokino and Novogrigoryevka. Near Shirokino and Novotroitskoye, snipers were active, said Lysenko. In the last 24 hours, 38 incidents of shelling were recorded, 13 from heavy artillery.

On the Donetsk line, half the shelling was in the Avdeyevka area, with the militants using grenade-launchers with various m odifications, shotguns and machine guns. There were 18 shells near Oprosnoye and another 39 near Novoselovka Btoraya.

Fighting is intensive also around Luganskoye, with militants deploying heavy artillery, including 36 rounds from 122-mm artillery and 119 mortar launchers. Near Gorlovka, the Russian-backed fighters used armored vehicles, shooting from a BMP near Novgorodskoye, Zaytsevo and Novoselovka.

In a second report today on its Facebook page, the ATO said firing from 120-mm artillery continued on Mayorsk and Novgorodskoye as well as on Avdeyevka from large-caliber artillery and grenade-launchers. A sniper was also active.  There was also firing on Novoaleksandrovka and Novotoshkovskoye.

Eduard Basurin, defense minister of the DNR said Ukrainian forces fired 425 rounds from 120- and 82-mm artillery as well as grenade-launchers. Zaytsevo, Yasinovataya (Yasynuvata), Staromikhailovka, Dokuchayevsk, Leninskaya, Kominternovo, Petrovsky District of Donetsk and the Donetsk Airport.

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) reported on July 2 about findings July 1.

The report mentions the deterioration of the security situation in Svetlodarks (Svitlodarsk) which was indicated by the video of shelling by Russian-backed forces uploaded to YouTube which we reported yesterday. 

The analysis of craters in DNR-controlled Yasinovataya (Yasynuvata) and further explosions indicate that the direction is from the Ukrainian positions. The team also reports a large amount of heavy military vehicles in DNR-controlled areas in violation of the Minsk agreement to withdraw such weapons, and reported to a lesser extent heavy vehicles in Ukrainian-controlled areas.

In Donetsk region the SMM recorded a similarly high number of ceasefire violations compared to the previous reporting period. In Luhansk region, the SMM observed fewer ceasefire violations compared to the previous day. The SMM members in Svitlodarsk were redirected to Kramatorsk for the night, due to the deterioration of the security situation in the area. The SMM followed up on reports of shelling and conducted crater analysis in Kominternove and Yasynuvata. It continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons. The SMM continued to monitor the situation of civilians at entry-exit checkpoints along the contact line. The Mission monitored a border area not controlled by the Government and its access was denied at one border crossing point The Mission’s freedom of movement was restricted on three occasions.* In Odessa, the SMM observed a demonstration gathering about 500 people in front of the city council.

The SMM observed a similarly high number of ceasefire violations [1] in Donetsk region compared to the previous reporting period.         
Whilst at the “DPR”-controlled Donetsk central railway station (6km north-west of Donetsk city centre), the SMM heard 20 undetermined explosions and at least 100 single shots of small-arms fire, along with multiple bursts of heavy-machine-gun-fire at locations ranging from 2 to 7km east, north-east, north and north-west of its position. The SMM heard one explosion assessed as an impact of a round from an unknown weapon type 2-3km north of its position.
Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 119 undetermined explosions and an uncountable number of single shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire at locations ranging from 1.5 to 10km north-east and west of its position.

Whilst in Debaltseve (“DPR”-controlled, 58km north-east of Donetsk), during the evening of 1 July and during the night hours of 1-2 July the SMM heard 160 undetermined explosions at locations ranging from 5 to 10km north-east, north-north-east, north–west and south-west of its position.
As some of the outgoing artillery fire on 30 June and 1 July (see SMM Daily Report 1 July 2016) was identified as occurring in the vicinity of the forward patrol base in Svitlodarsk (“DPR”-controlled, 57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM decided to redirect the personnel to Kramatorsk for the night.
In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations compared to the previous day. Whilst at an “LPR” checkpoint south of Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (16km north-east of Luhansk), the SMM heard three explosions assessed as impacts of automatic grenade launcher (AGS-17) rounds: one explosion about 0.2km north-north-east and two explosions 0.5km south-west of its position.

Whilst in “LPR”-controlled Donetskyi (49km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 14 undetermined explosions 8km south-east of its position.

Whilst in “LPR”-controlled Shymshynivka (27km south-west of Luhansk) and Vrubivskyi (22km south-west of Luhansk), the SMM heard approximately ten bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire 10km south-east and four tank rounds fired from 9km south-east of its position. The SMM assessed that the shooting was related to training activity in the training area in “LPR”-controlled Uspenka (23km south-west of Luhansk), outside the security zone.

The SMM followed up on reports of shelling. In “DPR”-controlled Kominternove (23km north-east of Mariupol), the SMM observed an impact on the second floor at the southern corner of a building, assessed as caused by a recoilless-gun (SPG-9) round fired from a south-westerly direction. The SMM observed remnants of a recoilless-gun (SPG-9) round at the corner of the building. According to a female resident, in the evening of 29 June an explosion occurred when the recoilless-gun round hit the building in which she lived. In front of a house which has been previously burnt, the SMM remnants of an anti-tank guided missile (type 9K113 Konkurs). The SMM saw in the backyard of the house fresh wires from an anti-tank guided missile. In Yasynuvata, at Kurortna Street 39, the SMM observed a small hole in a south-westerly facing window, as well as a second impact on the wall (hosting the window), approximately 25cm away from it. The SMM assessed the hole and the impact to have been caused by two rounds of small-arms fired from a north-west to south-westerly direction. According to “DPR” members, one male adult was wounded in his left arm. At the Yasynuvata hospital, staff confirmed to the SMM that a wounded man had been transferred to Donetsk trauma hospital. There, the doctor responsible for the patient told the SMM that the wounded person had been hit in the upper left arm by what appeared to be small-arms fire. In LPR”-controlled Raivka (16km north-west of Luhansk) the SMM observed a shell-damaged north-facing wall of a house in the area along the Siverskyi Donets river and assessed it as caused by rocket-propelled grenade (RPG-26) fire. The SMM also saw seven fresh craters in the area.

In other news:

o Yesterday, July 2, an unknown person shot at the car of Ilya Kiva, the former head of the department for narcotics crime of the National Police, in Kherson Region, reported. A grenade was also thrown at the car. He was not injured.

Kiva reported the incident to the police, which released the report to the press today, July 3.

o Ukrainian police arrested a former member of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" (DNR), age 63, in Avdeyevka, reported. After a court issued as search warrant, police searched his home and found two grenades and an air pistol which were confiscated. The man said he had joined the DNR to earn money and served at a checkpoint for awhile, but hadn't been paid and decided to return home to Avdeyevka. He could face up to 7 years of imprisonment.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick