1 Separatist Fighter Killed; 1 Ukrainian Soldier Wounded Near Avdeyevka; 67 Attacks by Russia-Backed Forces

February 13, 2017
Zakhar Prilepin, deputy commander of a new spetsnaz battalion in the Donbass. Photo by Viktor Guseynov

Ukraine Day 1092: LIVE UPDATES BELOW. Ministry of Defense spokesman Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said that a Ukrainian soldier was wounded near Avdeyevka, to the north of Donetsk, which has seen intense fighting in the last two weeks. A separatist fighter was also killed today.

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


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1 Separatist Fighter Killed; 1 Ukrainian Soldier Wounded Near Avdeyevka; 67 Attacks by Russia-Backed Forces

A separatist fighter in Kominternovo (renamed Pikuzy by Ukraine). Photo by Viktor Guseynov.

o One Ukrainian Soldier Wounded Yesterday

Ministry of Defense spokesman Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said that a Ukrainian soldier was wounded near Avdeyevka (Avdiivka), to the north of Donetsk, which has seen intense fighting in the last two weeks.

According to the Ukrainian military, there were 67 attacks by Russia-backed forces yesterday.

The military claims that Russia-backed forces used mortars in attacks near Donetsk and Mariupol.

Positions near Avdeyevka and Verkhnyetoretskoye, a village to the northeast, were reportedly shelled with mortars, with the former also coming under fire from BMP infantry fighting vehicles.

Mortars were also used against positions near Krasnogorovka, to the west of Donetsk, Novotroitskoye, on the highway between the separatist-held regional capital and Mariupol, and Pavlopol, to the northeast of the port city.

Grenade-launcher and small-arms attacks were reported across much of the remainder of the front line, from the east of Mariupol to Novozvanovka in the Lugansk region.

o 1 Separatist Fighter Killed 

Meanwhile the Russia-backed separatists in Donetsk reported this afternoon that one of their fighters had been killed by Ukrainian fire within the last 24 hours.

The so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) has today accused Ukrainian forces of using tanks and 120-mm mortars to shell villages to the east of Mariupol. 

o Prilepin Battalion Announced 

Komsomolskaya Pravda has published a lavish multi-media feature today on Zakhar (“Zakha”) Prilepin, a prominent Russian writer and member of the  National Bolshevik Party who has served as an advisor to the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DNR) and who has now put together his own battalion to fight in the Donbass.

Prilepin’s Battalion, where he will serve as deputy commander or zampolit, will report to a spetsnaz regiment in the DNR army, TV reported. One of the Prilepin Battatlion’s detachments will be deployed in Kominternovo (renamed Pikuzy by Ukraine) at the front line.

The move is not so unusual as Prilepin, 41, served at one time in Russia’s OMON or riot troops and saw combat in Chechnya and Dagestan.

o Ukrainian Police Open Criminal Case Regarding Arms Found in Chongar; Discussion of Creation of Crimean Tatar Battalion

The National Police of Ukraine have opened a criminal case in Kherson Region regarding the discovering of a cache of arms and ammunition in the village of Chongar, Krym Realii reported.

The arms have been sent for forensic analysis.

Yesterday February 12 there were reports of an incident at the base of Asker, a civic association in Chongar, near the administrative border with Crimea. A BTR reportedly entered the area and ‘armed people used firearms.” But the Yug [South] Operations Command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces ground troops issued, which serves at the Crimean administrative border, said “there was no attack.”

The Ukrainian military said that some “unlawful armed formation” had come into the area and the Yug Command “took measures in compliance with the charter.”

Rossiyskaya Gazeta, the Russian government newspaper of record, claimed that the Ukrainian authorities had “destroyed the camp of the so-called Crimean Tatar battalion.”

RG also claimed that the Mejlis, the Crimean Tatar popular assembly outlawed by Russia, had a hand in the Crimean Tatar battalion. According to this report, Ukrainian soldiers fired in the air and at the ground to disperse the Crimean Tatar volunteers.

Krym Realii didn’t report the story in this fashion, but said that there has been “discussion about the creation of a Crimean Tatar battalion” within Ukraine’s army and the Mejlis has sent a file on this issue to both President Petro Poroshenko and to Arsen Avakov, head of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry.

But the National Guard, which is subordinate to the Interior Ministry, said the issue of the “Crimean Tatar battalion” was only at the level of statements now, but not backed by law. 

Meanwhile, Lenur Islyamov, a Crimean businessman and political figure who was among the organizers of the blockade of Crimea has called for naming the Crimean Tatar battalion after Noman Celebicihan (Noman Chelebidzhikhan), poet and writer and the first president of the short-lived Crimean People’s Republic in 1917-1918, until his arrest and execution by the Bolsheviks.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick