Ukraine Day 1080: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
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The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claims that a Ukrainian military aircraft was fired on today by Russian sailors with small arms.
The defense minister, Stepan Poltorak, released photographs this afternoon of damage to an Antonov An-26 transport aircraft, which had, he said, been on a training flight over Ukrainian territorial waters in the west of the Black Sea, near the Odessa gas fields.
No one was injured and the aircraft was able to land safely.
A source at the Ministry of Defense had earlier told Odessa news site Dumskaya.net that the fire had come from sailors aboard a small anti-submarine vessel (MPK) of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The Russian crew also reportedly fired signal flares.
Both Dumskaya and Poltorak reported that the crew of the An-26 had detected and located an active aircraft tracking radar, indicative of the presence of surface-to-air missile systems, around the time of the attack.
Tensions in the Odessa gas fields have been high since Russia deployed military assets to guard a drilling rig, seized during the takeover of Crimea, operating in what is internationally recognized as Ukraine’s exclusive maritime economic zone, but claimed by the Kremlin as Russian.
Meanwhile the Russian Black Sea Fleet has responded by calling the Ukrainian report an “absolute lie.“
According to the Fleet, the Ukrainian aircraft conducted two “clearly provocative approaches to the Russian Tavrida and Krym-1 drilling rigs at extremely low altitude.”
The Black Sea Fleet headquarters stated that their sailors fired signal flares in order to prevent a collision but did not use weapons.
— Pierre Vaux
Military and civilian casualties continue to mount in the Donbass.
At noon today the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense announced that one Ukrainian soldier was killed yesterday near the village of Tonenkoye, north of Donetsk. 15 were wounded in or near Avdeyevka, which is seeing the fourth day of intense violence after fighting escalated on Sunday morning. Three more Ukrainian servicemen were wounded in Zaytsevo and Luganskoye, near Gorlovka, and Talakovka, outside mariupol.
A couple of hours later, the Ukrainian military released a press statement saying that two more Ukrainian soldiers had been killed and two wounded by 14:00 (Kiev time) today.
At least one civilian has been killed and another wounded in Avdeyevka.
Abroskin also reported that a civilian male, born in 1954, had been injured after a shell damaged the roof of a house this morning.
He posted photos of damage caused to the town:
Meanwhile the Russia-backed separatists in Donetsk claimed today that two civilians had been killed and two wounded by Ukrainian shelling of Makeyevka and Donetsk within the last 24 hours.
Military casualties on the Russia-backed side have yet to be reported today by the so-called DNR. Last night Eduard Basurin, separatist military spokesman, claimed that two of their fighters had been killed and six wounded during the day.
Video released by the DNR earlier in the evening did show at least one wounded fighter and two corpses laid out on plastic sheets (at 0:46), during a visit by DNR leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko to a checkpoint under a highway flyover between separatist-held Yasinovataya and Avdeyevka:
Shelling continued this afternoon, following a brief lull as the Ukrainian authorities attempted to negotiate a ceasefire in order to allow engineers to conduct repairs to bring power supplies to Avdeyevka back online.
Translation: 15:32 a full packet of Grads.
Further artillery exchanges have been reported this evening, not only in the Donetsk area, but also near the highway to Mariupol, and the separatist-held settlements of Dokuchaevsk and Yelenovka:
Translation: Donetsk. Shchetinina. Sounds of impacts from the direction of the bypass to Yasinovataya
Translation: Again a self-propelled gun is firing one at a time from Dokuchaevsk.
Translation: Dokuchaevsk. Everything is like in 2014. Half a packet of Grads went out towards “f*ck knows where.”
— Pierre Vaux