Ukraine Suffers Worst Casualties, Both Military And Civilian, Since Start Of Month

February 17, 2017
Aftermath of last night's shelling in Avdeyevka. Photo: Donetsk police.

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Two More Civilians Wounded In Avdeyevka As Shelling Intensifies This Evening

The authorities in government-controlled Avdeyevka reports that another two civilians have been wounded this afternoon.

Novosti Donbassa reports that Yana Osetrova, press secretary for the Donetsk regional police, has said that at least two civilians were wounded after shells struck a multi-storey apartment building on Jubilee Street in Avdeyevka, northeast of Donetsk.

The second and third floors of the building were “completely destroyed.”

Police chief Vyacheslav Abroskin reports that the wounded civilians were born in 1997 and 2002. 

Igor Stokoz, deputy chairman of the Donetsk Regional Administration, reported on Facebook that at 17:15 (15:15 GMT), Russia-backed forces had resume shelling Avdeyevka, striking several residential buildings, one of which was now on fire.

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Meanwhile there are reports of heavy shelling in the Donetsk area on social media:
Translation: #Donetsk cannonade without interruption at 18:18 [Moscow time]
Translation: Shelling of Avdeyevka under way from Yakovlevka/Mineralnoye #RightNow
Translation: They’re shooting with something heavy. Too much pounding.
Translation: 18:04 #Donetsk , in the north there is intense fighting! Cannonade. They’re hitting with everything that they can.

Translation: Yakovlevka is rattling! Seems like a tank duel with mortars for backing chorus!

There are also reports of shelling to the west: 

Translation: Noisy in the direction of Maryinka.

— Pierre Vaux

Ukraine Suffers Worst Casualties, Both Military And Civilian, Since Start Of Month

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has announced that three Ukrainian soldier were killed and ten wounded yesterday in the Donbass.

MOD spokesman Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told reporters at a briefing in Kiev today that one soldier had been killed and another wounded in Zaytsevo, north of Gorlovka.

Another was killed and six wounded in Avdeyevka, northeast of Donetsk and the epicentre of heavy fighting since late January.

The situation in Avdeyevka, which had improved somewhat over the past week, has deteriorated again.

Ukrainian officials report that one civilian, a man born in 1973, was killed and two wounded as a result of last night’s attacks on the town.

Vyacheslav Abroskin, the chief of the National Police in the Donetsk region, reported yesterday evening that a house on Central Prospect and a multi-storey apartment building on Gagarin Street had been struck by shells.

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The third Ukrainian soldier was killed and another wounded near the village of Vodyanoye, east of Mariupol. Two more soldiers were wounded in Lebedinskoye, to the south of Vodyanoye, and Peski, northwest of Donetsk city.

These are the heaviest casualties seen in Ukraine since February 1, at the height of the flare-up in fighting around Avdeyevka. 

A report from the Ukrainian military this morning claimed that Russia-backed forces conducted 66 attacks yesterday.

According to the Ukrainian military, Avdeyevka and surrounding positions came under fire from mortars, tanks, grenade launchers and small arms. Colonel Motuzyanyk claimed this afternoon that more than 100 mortar rounds had been fired by Russia-backed forces here.

Mortar attacks were also reported near Kamenka, Peski, Verkhnetoretskoye and Zaytsevo.

The MOD spokesman said that, several hours after the intensification of fire on Avdeyevka had begun, Russia-backed forces had begun “distracting maneuvers” near Kamenka, to the east of Avdeyevka, and the Butovka mine, to the southwest. 

Tanks had also been used, he said, near Donetsk Airport, Gorlovka and on the tense stretch of front line to the east of that separatist-held town, near Svetlodarsk.

In the south of the Donetsk region, the military reported the use of 120 and 82-mm mortars in attacks on Pavlopol and Shirokino, where Ukrainian troops also came under fire from BMP infantry fighting vehicles and BTR armored personnel carriers. In addition, grenade-launcher and small-arms attacks were reported near Lebedinskoye, Vodyanoye, Gnutovo, Novoselovka and Novotroitskoye.

In Bogdanovka, to the east of Volnovakha, the Ukrainian military reports that Russia-backed forces opened fire with anti-tank missiles.

In the Lugansk region, the military reported that Krymskoye, a vulnerable Ukrainian-controlled village on the southern banks of the Seversky Donets river had been shelled with 120 and 82-mm mortars. Elsewhere in the region, grenade launchers and small arms were reportedly used in attacks near Lobachevo, Novozvanovka, Stanitsa Luganskaya and Novoaleksandrovka.

Meanwhile the Russia-backed separatists in Donetsk claimed this afternoon that eight of their fighters had been killed and two wounded in the past 24 hours.

According to Eduard Basurin, military spokesman for the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), Ukrainian forces fired around 365 shells on nine separatist-held settlements in that time period. 

— Pierre Vaux