Five Ukrainian Soldiers Wounded Yesterday While Three More Go Missing

January 9, 2017

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An Invasion By Any Other Name: The Kremlin’s Dirty War in Ukraine


Five Ukrainian Soldiers Wounded Yesterday While Three More Go Missing

Five Ukrainian servicemen were wounded in the Donbass yesterday as Kiev reports 51 attacks by Russia-backed forces.

Defense Ministry spokesman Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk declined to specify where the casualties took place, but the Ukrainian military reports that the heaviest fighting took place near Mariupol and Svetlodarsk, continuing the trend seen over the weekend.

According to this morning’s report, Russia-backed forces used 122-mm artillery in both those areas, shelling positions in Shirokino, on the Azov coast, and Luganskoye, on the road between separatist-held Debaltsevo and Bakhmut.

Elsewhere in the Mariupol area, 120 and 82-mm mortars were reportedly used in attacks on positions near Gnutovo, Vodyanoye and Talakovka, where Motuzyanyk also reported the use of a tank, as well as Novotroitskoye, on the Donetsk-Mariupol highway, and Maryinka, west of Donetsk.

It was just north of Maryinka, on the road between government-controlled Krasnogorovka and separatist-held Staromikhailovka, that the Donetsk police reported yesterday that the body of a young woman had been found.

According to Donetsk regional police chief Vyacheslav Abroskin, the woman, estimated to have been aged around 25, was “probably killed on January 5 as a result of a mortar attack by DNR [the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic] militants.”

The dead woman had suffered shrapnel wounds to her legs. Investigators are working to establish her identity.

To the north and northeast of Donetsk, the Ukrainian military reports the use of 82 mm mortars in attacks on Avdeyevka, as well as Mayorsk, north of Gorlovka, and Luganskoye, where a BMP infantry fighting vehicle also opened fire.

Not far from Luganskoye, the town of Troitskoye, on the western fringes of the Lugansk region, was reportedly shelled with mortars, while, elsewhere in the region, grenade launchers and small arms were used in attacks near Novozvanovka, Lopaskino and Stanitsa Luganskaya. 

In an as-yet undisclosed area of the front line, three Ukrainian soldiers went missing yesterday.

According to a military report released last night, the soldiers failed to return to their deployment base “close to the demarcation line” and efforts at contacting them had been unsuccessful.¬†

This afternoon Yuriy Tandit, an adviser to the head of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), told reporters that, beyond confirming that the SBU had held a meeting with the governor of one of the two front-line regions of the Donbass, the agency would not comment on the details of the case lest this damage the chances of their return.

On the other side of the front line, Eduard Basuin, deputy commander of the armed forces of the DNR, claimed today that a 11-year-old girl had been wounded after Ukrainian troops shelled the village of Bezymyonnoye, east of Shirokino.

According to Basurin, the girl suffered shrapnel injuries during the attack.

We note that there is so far no confirmation (by other sources or video evidence) of this report, and that Basurin has a striking history of fabricating child casualties, as most clearly portrayed in this BBC report from April, 2015:

— Pierre Vaux