In Ukraine

Report published on Novorossiya Vision, Friday, Aug 26, 2016

Donbass burning on Ukrainian Independence Day; OSCE refuses to visit sites of shellings; DPR holds exercises on amphibious landing

By mid-week, the situation on the fronts of Donbass sharply deteriorated.

Shelling of house in Donetsk region by Ukrainian military on or before Aug 23, 2016

Shelling of house in Donetsk region by Ukrainian military on or before Aug 23, 2016

On August 24, speaking at a parade in Kiev on the occasion of the Independence Day of Ukraine, President Poroshenko made a special appeal to the residents of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic. He told them that Ukraine loves them, has not forgotten about them and is sure to set them free from their “Russian occupation”. Donbass deeply felt such bouts of Ukraine’s ‘love’ [see photo and weblinked video for examples].

According to the DPR Defense Ministry, the Ukrainian military opened fire on the territory of the Republic nearly 700 times on August 24, with about 100 rounds from heavy artillery and 15 from tanks. As a result of the shelling, two elderly women were killed in Gorlovka, and another six civilians were wounded, including a family of four people, in Gorlovka and one of the Donetsk districts.

In addition, 14 houses were damaged. In one of them, the residents had been listening to Poroshenko’s speech at the parade that very morning. In Gorlovka, the shelling also resulted in 40 power transformer stations de-energized.

The day before, the Ukrainian army deliberately shelled three mines, damaging their power supply and leaving over 250 miners underground. Repair crews restored the power supply within 1.5 hours, with all the miners lifted to the surface unhurt.

On the northern outskirts of Gorlovka, the Ukrainian military also started to celebrate the day of their independence in advance, setting a stretch mine in the DPR-controlled part of the locality. A local civilian born in 1986 hit the mine and was killed in the explosion.

Independence Day in Ukraine was also honored by the Kiev army with the fourth, in recent days, attack on the observation point of the Russian side to the Joint Center for Coordination and Control (JCCC) in the Yasinovataya area. The Russian observers recorded nine explosions of 122mm artillery shells, with three of them landing in the vicinity of the observation point which was hit with fragments. The JCCC Russian officers had to be evacuated to a bomb shelter.

Representatives of the OSCE monitoring mission, however, refused to go to the site of the shelling in Yasinovataya, basing their refusal on the fact that ‘in the locality of Yasinovataya, the mission patrols are at high risk, that is unacceptable’.

On the other hand, the OSCE observers arrived in the town of Kominternovo in the south of the DPR. In this town, a local resident, father of two children, was wounded by a bombardment from the Ukrainian side. When his wife asked the mission representatives to pass her appeal to the Red Cross for some medicine her husband needed, one of the international observers told her that ‘the OSCE is not obliged to help her’.

In the LPR on Independence Day of Ukraine, Kiev also shelled towns and villages of the republic with artillery and mortars, having launched, according to the Defense Ministry of the Republic, 100 82, 120, 122 and 152mm shells.

On August 24, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation opened a criminal case on the Ukrainian Minister of Defense and a number of high-ranking military commanders.

On the same day, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, in a telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, urged Washington to warn Kiev against provocations and encourage the Ukrainian authorities to a dialogue with Donbass.

On the night of August 24 to 25, Kiev shelled the northern outskirts of Gorlovka with mortars, as a result of which a woman born in 1966 received shrapnel wounds. Later, she died in hospital from her injuries.

The next day, the Ukrainian military, still intoxicated according to eyewitnesses, opened automatic fire at a pedestrian crossing over the Seversky Donets River in the LPR, when there were civilians, one of whom was wounded in a leg.

In Donetsk, there was a powerful explosion on this day, which resulted in windows shattered in a number of nearby houses. The military authorities of the republic reported that a yet unknown explosive device exploded in the hands of a man who was literally torn to pieces. It is possible that the victim was preparing an act of terrorism, but failed to set an explosive device properly.

On the same day, during a press conference, the Head of DPR, Alexander Zakharchenko, said that the explosion had occurred near the home of one of the deputy prime ministers of the republic, as well as of a commander of the DPR army. In addition, the head of the republic said that a few days before, another explosive device had been found near his own home.

At the parade in Kiev in honor of Independence Day, Poroshenko announced that the equipment and weapons on display there would go from the parade straight to Donbass. This equipment includes over 140 pieces of heavy artillery and armored vehicles prohibited by the Minsk Agreements, as well as assault aircraft and helicopters.

Commenting on this announcement, Alexander Zakharchenko said that according to the DPR intelligence, on the night of August 24 to 25, the Armed Forces of Ukraine had planned to go on an offensive. However, a violent thunderstorm broke out in Donbass and the plans of Kiev had been ruined by an insurmountable obstacle–the rain. The DPR head pointed out that the military and political authorities of the Republic were aware of all actions taken by Ukraine and ready to take appropriate response measures. He also proposed to Kiev to remember the battles at the Donetsk airport and Debaltsevo [where Ukraine suffered heavy casualties].

Meanwhile, the DPR army held exercises on amphibious landings. The head of the assault team said that the results of the exercises showed that the soldiers of the Republic are ready to perform any task at any point of the Sea of Azov coast. Such exercises are held on a regular basis, he said, with one of its components being the development of offensive operations after landing.

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