Ukraine Day 1058: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
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For the second consecutive day, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense reports that five of their servicemen were wounded in fighting yesterday.
MOD spokesman Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told reporters at a briefing today that five Ukrainian soldiers had been wounded. Once again, Motuzyanyk declined to specify where the casualties had been incurred.
Meanwhile Leonid Matyukhin, spokesman for the military operation in the east, referred to by the Ukrainian authorities as the Anti-Terrorism Operation (ATO), told LIGA.net this morning that the search for three Ukrainian servicemen, who went missing on Sunday in an undisclosed area of the front line, is still under way.
Worryingly, the Ukrainian military and Lugansk Regional Administration claim that Russia-backed forces have resumed using BM-21 Grad multiple-launch rocket systems for the first time since December 23.
According to this morning’s report from the Ukrainian military’s ATO Press Center, Russia-backed forces used Grad rockets to bombard positions near the village of Sizoye.
Sizoye lies on the northern banks of the Seversky Donets river, which divides government and separatist-controlled territory in this area, just three kilometers from the Russian border.
While there have been a number of attacks near Sizoye in recent weeks, it is a surprising location to deploy such heavy weaponry, given the fact there there are no river crossings in this area by which to mount a ground offensive (though units could of course enter from the territory of the Russian Federation from the northeast as has likely been the case in several previous instances).
According to the report, Stanitsa Luganskaya, to the northwest of Sizoye, came under fire from grenade launchers, while further west in the Lugansk region there were anti-tank-missile attacks near Novozvanovka and the town of Troitskoye, which lies on the edge of the region, just northeast of Luganskoye – another hotspot in recent fighting, was shelled with mortars.
Luganskoye itself was reported to have been subjected to mortar fire, in addition to Zaytsevo, north of Gorlovka, and Avdeyevka, north of Donetsk.
Ivan Prikhodko, the separatist-backed head of the Gorlovka municipal administration, claimed today that two homes on the separatist-held, southern outskirts of Zaytsevo had been damaged by Ukrainian fire.
Meanwhile, to the west of Donetsk, journalist Taras Korniyuk reported that a rocket-propelled grenade had struck a home in the government-controlled suburb of Maryinka last night.
The blast from the RPG started a fire, which firefighters were unable to reach until this morning, due to incoming fire from Russia-backed forces. Fortunately, no one was injured.
Shelling was also reported in the south, with Vodyanoye, east of Mariupol, coming under 82-mm-mortar fire.
— Pierre Vaux