5 Ukrainian Soldiers Wounded in Last 2 Days; SBU Foils Assassination Attempt on MP Gerashchenko

January 23, 2017
Ukrainian forces move into a new position near Stakhanov which they have taken from Russia-backed fighters. Screen grab from TCN 112 feature January 22, 2017.

Ukraine Day 1071: LIVE UPDATES BELOW. Five Ukrainian soldiers have been wounded in the last 2 days. Ukrainian intelligence foiled an assassination attempt on MP Anton Gerashchenko.

Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.


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


5 Ukrainian Soldiers Wounded in Last 2 Days; SBU Foils Assassination Attempt on MP Gerashchenko

The Anti-Terrorist Operation [ATO} reported 22 incidents of firing on their positions, Liga.net reported, citing the ATO’s Facebook page.

More heavy artillery banned under the Minsk agreement was in appearance. 

On the Mariupol line, Russia-backed fighters fired from 80-mm and 120-mm artillery on Krasnogorovka and from grenade-launchers and heavy machine guns on Pavlopol, Novotroitskoye, Shirokino, Vodyanoye and Lebedinskoye.

On the Lugansk line, militants fired from 82-mm artillery on Troitskoye and used grenade-launchers and heavy machine guns on Krymskoye, Novozvanovka and Novoaleksandrovka.

On the Donetsk line, they fired from grenade-launchers and small arms on Avdeyevka; a sniper fired on Peski; and a BMP opened fire on Luganskoye.

The ATO reported that yesterday, January 22, 4 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded; today, January 23, 1 Ukrainian soldier was wounded.

In their evening report yesterday, the ATO reported there were a total of 41 attacks, with firing by heavy machine guns and small arms on Talakovka, Lebedinskoye, Maryinka, Guntovo, Pavlopol, Chermalyk, Shirokino and Vodynoye. Shipers were active near Maryinka, Novotroitskoye and Krasnogorovka.

On the Lugansk line, grenade-launchers and small arms were used on Valuyskoye, Krymskoye, Novoaleksandrovka, Novozanovka and Stanitsa Luganskaya.

On the Donetsk line, 120-mm artillery was ued on Peski and a sniper was active in Peski. Grenade-launchers and small arms were fired on Novgorodskaya, Luganskoye, Avdeyevka, and Zatsyevo

TSN reported yesterday, January 22 that Ukrainian forces had moved to new positions, and that “half a kilometer of Ukrainian land was liberated from the occupiers.” Ukrainian soldiers trekked toward Stakhanov through the snow and took up a positions in dug-outs which they said had been filled with Russia-backed fighters until recently. 

Russian, Moldovan Citizens Detained for Fighting with Separatists

The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) said they detained a citizen of Russia who was trying to cross the line of contact by-pass checkpoints near the town of Yelenovka (Olenivka) in Volnovakh District of Donetsk Region, the scene of fighting in recent days. The man, originally from Luki in Pskov Region of Russia, came to Ukraine in 2013 in search of work and then joined the separatists in 2015, taking up a position in reconnaissance and reporting from observation points for the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR).

Moldovan authorities announced that they had arrested a Moldovan citizen, age 24, whose name was not given, who had allegedly taken part in a Russia-backed armed group in the Donbass, Liga.net reported, citing the Moldovan Information and Security Service. A court issued an order for his arrest for 30 days. He is being investigated for mercenary activity with “extremist separatist formations on the territory of Ukraine.” The man was said to have confessed his guilt and was cooperating with the authorities; he faces from 3-7 years in prison.  

Last week there was a similar case where a Molodovan citizen, age 42, who had fought with the DNR and Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR) as well, was arrested in Moldova and charged with taking part in the “unlawful armed military formation Sparta”. The man was originally from Transnistria and had received training from the separatists on how to work specialized military technology.

MP Gerashchenko Said SBU Foiled Assassination Attempt on Him 

Anton Gerashchenko, a member of parliament and former advisor to the Interior Ministry said at a briefing today, January 23 that several Russian intelligence officers had been identified in Ukraine who had been involved in diversionary activity and terrorist attacks, and had even planned to assassinate him, Liga.net reported.

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Earlier January 20 on a Facebook page, Gerashchenko had said that the Russian intelligence agents had planned to kill him in one of their attacks. 
He said today there was a “diversionary terrorist center” created in Russia which was responsible for the murder of Ivan Mamchur, an officer of the Rivne (Rovno) Detention Center, in September 2016. Mamchur had served as commander of Ukrainian Military Intelligence (GUR)’s Third Spetsnaz Regiment.
Gerashchenko said the Russian diversionary group was also responisble for the murder of an ATO soldier, Yevgeny Sukhoviyev in October 2016. Sukhoviyev had served in the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ 25th Brigade. Another terrorist attack attributed to this Russian group was the burning of an apartment in Kherson and the burning of the apartment of Kherson Mayor Vladimir Nikolayenko.
The Russian saboteurs were also said to be planning attacks on political figures as well as Crimean and Jewish organizations, to create the impression that Kherson residents were unhappy with the Ukrainian government.
Three Ukrainian citizens were arrested for Mamchur’s murder and were said to have been trained in Russia as assassins and terrorists.
Said Gerashchenko (translation by The Interpreter):

“These are only the executors. This is expendable material. These are citizens of Ukraine…We have already established individual officers of the Russian intelligence agencies who are carrying out this activity. It is possible they will be put on the international wanted list as persons who undertook terrorist work against Ukraine. But we’re interested in the question to which there isn’t yet an answer: was the decision to create such a diversionary-terrorist center made by Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, or was it made by someone from his entourage who wished to curry favor and show successful work?”

Earlier, Vasyl Gritsak, head of the SBU, announced that the SBU had prevented the murder of an MP. Zoryan Shirkyak, an advisor to the Interior Ministry, said that MP was in fact Gerashchenko. The main motive for the murder was that Gerashchenko is behind Mirotvorets [Peacekeeper] the controversial site exposing the identities of persons said to be fighting on the side of the Russia-backed separatists, as well as some journalists who had covered the war in the Donbass.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick