In Ukraine

By Irina Burya, journalist at Novorossiya Vision, Nov 1, 2016

For many months, Makeeka, a satellite town of Donetsk, the capital of the Donetsk People’s Republic, was considered almost a rear town. Every night, the residents heard the shelling of the outskirts of Donetsk in the south and the intense fighting in the north, in Yasinovataya area, but it was a distant cannonade which did not even make windows tremble. The residents got used to going to sleep in near silence.

On Thursday, October 27, at 7 pm, the city was inundated with artillery fire. According to the DPR Defense Ministry, in two hours of shelling the Ukrainian side launched on the town, 297 artillery and mortar shells fell, including 8 of 152mm caliber.

As a result of the shelling, three civilians were killed and another 10 wounded, including two children, born in 2004 and 2010. There were also damaged 10 buildings, including a kindergarten, and a gas pipeline, leaving even undamaged houses without heating. The air temperature at night already falls to zero degrees.

At the same time, Kiev struck a massive blow to the northern segment of the front, where three houses were destroyed on the outskirts of Gorlovka and their owners wounded, and to the southern sector. On one small village located south of Donetsk alone, the Ukrainian military launched about 100 152mm artillery shells that day.

In the shelling on positions of the DPR army, two soldiers were killed and another six wounded. The military authorities of the Republic called the day “Bloody Thursday”.

The Donetsk People’s Republic immediately initiated an emergency meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk, during which the Ukrainian side said that Makeevka had been shelled from DPR positions. At the same time, the OSCE observers said in their report that artillery and mortar shells had come to Makeevka from the north, where the Ukrainian position are situated.

Nevertheless, during the meeting a decision was made to establish as soon as possible new sites where the sides to the conflict should be separated to stabilize the situation on the front.

The next day, on October 29, the number of attacks by the Ukrainian side increased by half in the Donetsk segment of the front, and on October 30 it once again nearly doubled. Moreover, out of 700 rounds on the territory of the Republic, over 300 were made by the Ukrainian military from heavy 120mm mortars and 152mm artillery.

In the past two days, the most difficult situation was in the south of the Republic, where Kiev massively used 152mm artillery as well as tanks, and repeatedly tried to attack the positions of the DPR army.

In total, over the past week, according to the DPR Defense Ministry, the Ukrainian side opened fire on the territory of the Republic over 2,500 times, with more than 1,500 rounds made from heavy mortars, artillery and tanks.

Kiev shelled 26 localities, in which, according to local authorities, about 60 houses were destroyed or damaged, with their owners left homeless on the eve of winter.

As a result of the bombardments, three civilians were killed and 18 wounded. In one of the suburbs of Donetsk alone, two elderly women born in 1950 and 1952 received shrapnel wounds.. The DPR army lost 4 soldiers killed and 9 wounded.

Lugansk republic

In the Lugansk People’s Republic, the ceasefire was not respected by the Ukrainian side either, and Kiev continued to operate openly terrorist methods.

On October 23, in the Lugansk area, the Ukrainian military fired an anti-tank grenade launcher on a civilian vehicle traveling in an open area on a country road. As a result of a direct hit in the car, the driver received serious wounds and burns. His arm was amputated, and he is still in a coma in a hospital in Lugansk.

The next day, the Ukrainian military opened fire on the bridge over the Seversky Donets river, the only crossing point for civilians from the LPR territory to the territory controlled by Kiev. The shelling damaged the bridge and a checkpoint of the LPR army.

On the same day, to the north of the capital of the LPR, the Ukrainian military, without any warning, opened fire on civilians crossing in boats the Seversky Donets river to Kiev-controlled territory. One civilian was wounded and two vehicles damaged on the LPR-controlled bank.

On October 27, Bloody Thursday, the Ukrainian military shelled the positions of the LPR army, having come up to them in an ambulance.

On October 29, immediately after the urgent meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk, the Ukrainian military again shelled with mortars Pervomaysk city, located west of Lugansk. The shelling caused damaged to three houses and pedagogical college.

At the same time, the Ukrainian media spread information that the shelling of Pervomaysk had been carried out by a guerrilla group of “Ukrainian patriots”.

In the Donetsk segment of the front, the Ukrainian military shelled, with 122mm artillery and 120mm mortars one of the three checkpoints where civilians could cross the contact line, after which Kiev immediately closed the checkpoint “for reasons of the civilian population’s security”.

All along the contact line, soldiers of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics in position report constant movements of military equipment by the Ukrainian side. According to the Minsk ceasefire agreement, heavy weaponry is to be withdrawn to storage sites. During the past week, observers of the Organization for Security and Coopreration in Europe (OSCE) documented 233 units of Ukrainian heavy equipment and weapons absent from these storage sites.

According to DPR intelligence, the majority of these weapons have been returned by Kiev to the contact line. In the northern and central segments of the Donetsk front, several batteries of 152 and 122mm motorized artillery systems and tank platoons have been detected. In the south, an already tense segment, Kiev delivered last week three batteries of artillery and a platoon of ‘Grad’ multiple rocket launchers.

In addition, units of nationalists and foreign mercenaries continue to arrive in  Donbass. Last week in the Donetsk segment, about 100 extremists of the ‘Right Secto’ arrived along with a company of foreign mercenaries.

In the Lugansk segment of the front in the area of the capital, another unit of the Right Sector arrived armed with two motorized artillery systems and three armored personnel carriers. Soldiers in the LPR army on positions identified the newcomers by the flags of the Right Sector fixed to the equipment.

According to LPR intelligence, in the Kiev-controlled territory to the north-west of Lugansk, an unidentified unit arrived numbering 150-200 men dressed in black uniforms with no insignia and armed with small arms resembling the American assault rifle M-16.

According to the LPR soldiers on positions, these are ‘visiting’ groups, presumably mercenaries, who come from the rear to the Ukrainian positions, fire on the LPR territory for an hour or two, and immediately leave.

Two days ago, the Ukrainian positions in Donbass were visited by a group of military inspectors from Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark and the Netherlands. The purpose of their trip was to “study the real situation on the contact line in Donbas”. At the same time, according to the Ukrainian media, the Western military experts took a personal part in firing with automatic and machine guns, sniper rifles and antitank and automatic grenade launchers.

LPR intelligence reported that Kiev had returned to the Lugansk segment of the front a brigade which had been stationed in Donbas in 2014 and was distinguished by specific cruelty in relation to local residents. A week earlier, Kiev delivered the similar brigade to the Donetsk segment of the front. Last week at the airfield nearest to Lugansk on the Kiev-controlled territory, seven SU-25 attack aircraft arrived.

Meeting of Normandy Four and holding of elections in Donbass

At the latest meeting of leaders of the countries of the ‘Normandy format’ (Ukraine, France, Germany, Russia) on October 20, it was clearly stated that the conflict in Donbas could only be resolved by political means. A week later, on October 26, the heads of the DPR and LPR suspended preparations for the local elections in the Republics, previously set for November 6, since the Ukrainian parliament had not yet adopted a law regulating these elections.

The entire last week, in Kiev, Ukrainian parliamentarians and leaders of nationalist organizations made statements that adoption of a law on local elections in Donbass, leading to the actual holding of elections, are impossible.

 

The advisor to the President of Ukraine on the so-called “occupied territories” said that first a police mission should be introduced into Donbass, under the auspices of the UN and not the OSCE.

Due to the evident failure of the Ukrainian authorities to settle the conflict in Donbass peacefully, the DPR army launched last week new exercises, with the military authorities of the Republic setting a task of liberating the territory of Donbass and coming to the administrative borders of the former Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine.

According to a member of the Ukrainian delegation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the DPR and LPR were officially recognized as ‘de facto states’ in an the Assembly resolution.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: We remind our readers that publication of articles on our site does not mean that we agree with what is written. Our policy is to publish anything which we consider of interest, so as to assist our readers in forming their opinions. Sometimes we even publish articles with which we totally disagree, since we believe it is important for our readers to be informed on as wide a spectrum of views as possible.

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